19 April 2012

Travel Plans

There are nice things about not working regularly: not having to get up early every day, not dealing with a commute twice a day, having free time for other interests and pursuits.

Next week I'll be heading back to New York. This trip is structured around a play I'm seeing. I started planning this back in January, before I knew I would be getting laid off, and since I'd already bought the theater ticket, which is nonrefundable, I decided to proceed.

Actually, planning for this trip started back in November, when I learned that this particular play would be performed again. It's being presented at the Public Theater by a company called Elevator Repair Service. The play is called Gatz, and the best description I can offer is that it is a performance of the entire novel The Great Gatsby. Every word in the book is spoken onstage over the course of about six and a half hours (plus two intermissions and a dinner break!).

I first learned about this show over two years ago, when ERS was performing it at the American Repretory Theater in Cambridge. I didn't find out about it until the final week of the run, and there were no tickets available anyway. When the Mrs. and I were in New York in November of 2010, they happened to be performing it at the Public Theater, but by that point the entire run was sold out, and the Mrs. had no interest in seeing it regardless.

Her lack of interest (perfectly understandable—not everyone is a fan of the book, and not everyone wants to sit in a theater for that long), along with the demands of her school work, led me to decide to make this trip solo. Others think I'm a bit nuts for wanting to see this show, but The Great Gatsby is one of the most important works of literature of the 20th century, and I've always had a deep affection for it. This is a very unusual performance, so when the opportunity to see it arose again, with time for me to plan for it, I had to do it.

(The movie version of the book that's coming out this Christmas, directed by Baz Luhrman and shot in 3-D, is probably going to be a disaster—I mean, Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, really?—but I'll have to see it too. The 1974 version wasn't good either, but at least casting Robert Redford as Gatsby made some sense.)

Of course, there's plenty else to amuse me in New York, including a couple of museum exhibits and (obviously) some shopping. I had a bit more trouble than usual getting a hotel room at a decent rate, probably due in some part to the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through next weekend. When I picked the date to see the play I wasn't aware the festival would be going on, or I would have chosen a different weekend. These things can't always be helped, but I managed to get a reservation at a hotel that is convenient to the theater and a subway station. More to come...

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