A landmark of modern literature transformed into an award-winning theatrical experience
The company will provide Off the Stage workshops in theater performance

Abu Dhabi, September 2018: Multi-award winning ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS) is set to bring audiences on a theatrical odyssey that reinvents the iconic literary masterpiece The Great Gatsby on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, September 21, 22, and 24.

Titled Gatz and brought exclusively to The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) for its Middle East premiere, the show takes form as a tour-de-force performance across eight hours, comprising four acts with two intermissions and an extended dinner break. In addition to tickets, special dinner packages are available to attendees.

Utilizing the intimate space of The Black Box, lead performer Scott Shepherd (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Bridge of Spies) and a cast of twelve will draw audiences into the vibrant world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s America through an Obie-winning performance that translates the novel word for word into live theater before their very eyes.

The theatrical saga is directed by John Collins, who unfolds this story in a shabby office of a mysterious small business as an employee finds a copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter on his desk. Reading it aloud from beginning to end, his coworkers find themselves taken in by his gradual metamorphosis into the novel’s narrator, Nick Carraway.

“Audiences for Gatz get to know each other personally and share a unique experience over the course of the show. The book itself is about personal reinvention and about finding a sense of who you are through the experience of other people whose origins are vastly different to your own. This is a terrific opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the NYUAD community, as well as a chance to actively observe an iconic piece of American culture,” said Founder and Artistic Director of ERS, creators of Gatz John Collins.

As with all artist residencies at The Arts Center, complementing the performances is a selection of Off The Stage events. In these events, artists share their skills and knowledge with the UAE community. On Saturday, September 22,members of ERS will talk about the creation of Gatz in a pre-show talk. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 25 and 26, local theatermakers and developing artists will work with ERS in two, three-hour intensive workshops which share their approaches to translating literature and alternative media into live performance.

Culminating the residency is Community Read! taking place on Thursday, September 27. This is a community discussion about the great American novel, The Great Gatsby, will be led by special guests Siobhan Fallon, NYUAD Professor of English Cyrus Patell, Ayah Rashid, and NYUAD Assistant Professor of Practice, Literature, and Creative Writing Miguel Syjuco. The event is co-presented by NYUAD writing publications Electra Street, Airport Road, and the NYUAD Art Gallery. Prior to this discussion, community members are invited to read The Great Gatsby on their own, or to attend a performance of Gatz, to connect with the novel in a new way.

Executive Artistic Director at NYUAD Arts Center Bill Bragin said: “Gatz is one of the most extraordinary theater experiences I’ve personally had, and I am thrilled to share this example of the transformative power of the stage. I remember my personal trepidation before seeing it for the first time, wondering how I would make it through the full 8 hours (only 6 ½ hours after intermissions.) I loved it so much, I ended up seeing it twice, and plan to see it again. Gatz first came out before people were in the habit of binge-watching a new season of their favorite Netflix series, which is now a common way of engaging in a great narrative. It’s a treat to be able to carve out the space to devour one of the great works of literature, and theater, all in one day.”