ROCKY Struts His Stuff for Final Weekend, GATSBY Takes The Stage Next Weekend

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on November 1, 2013

I spent one of those special lazy autumn afternoons sitting on the multi-columned porch of High Meadow, along with Michael Anthony Spaziani and Patrick Roberts. Before we started proper rehearsals, they wanted “to be able to talk about” The Great Gatsby. I’m not a great proponent of sitting around and talking a play to death, but these men are from a new school of thought and I like them, so there we were.

I had phoned my bespectacled and braced gentleman with the gracious and beautiful wife to ask to use their porch for this talk about session. I had made an arrangement to meet the actors at the theatre at noon, and they arrived on time. I got them into my car, drove to Submarina to pick up lunch (my treat) and proceeded to where they did not know. Nor did they question where we were going — they had no idea.

As I turned up the long winding drive, I said I wanted them to have an idea of where Daisy lived. Or if they preferred, perhaps this was Gatsby’s, without the view of the Long Island Sound or the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. Some things can be imagined.

The Great Gatsby is a rather straightforward tale, beautifully adapted by Simon Levy for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, with an artistic eye on being true to F. Scott Fitzgerald and true as well to Daisy and Gatsby.

I wonder how the story is perceived by young people who are required to read it. Perhaps it is just seen as a sad romance. But for us older folk (and I hope wiser readers), it speaks of that one great love that got away, that love which becomes frozen in time and does not age, but simply fades into absolute perfection.

Aristotle said there are only thirty-six different plots. Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl as Fanny Brice sings about them: “I’ve got thirty-six expressions, from ‘sweet as pie’ to ‘tough as leather,’ and that’s six expressions more than all those Barrymores put together.” The Gatsby story is one we have all lived out as one character or another. I have been Wilson, Myrtle, Tom and even Gatsby.

I’m ready for the fall chaos and eager to have those yellow buses clog up Franklin and First. I have already gotten my flu shot from Dr. Bill Grabenstein, so I can corral children and direct A Year with Frog and Toad, while socializing in the Christmas spirit for Plaid Tidings, without (hopefully) also tending the flu.

Tonight and tomorrow at 8pm, Rocky struts his stuff for the final two times. Fishnet stockings, stacked heels, bustiers and a gold lame swimsuit will then be packed up to make way for haute couture ’20s Jazz Age flappers provided by Couture Crush and sponsored by Clif and Melissa Sites of Sites Vision Clinic. The Great Gatsby opens at 8pm next Friday, November 8, for its pay-what-you-can preview.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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