Scott Shepherd, reading from Gatsby: The last swimmers have come in from the beach and are dressing upstairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names. The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confidant girls who wave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment, the center of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.
That was Scott Shepherd as Nick in Elevator Repair Service's production of Gatz.
Welcome to Art Works, the program that goes behind the scenes with some of the nation's great artists to explore how Art Works. I'm your host Josephine Reed.
Last December, I got in my car and drove three hours to Princeton, New Jersey where I grabbed a sandwich and headed to the McCarter Theater for a six and a half hour performance of Gatz performed the experimental theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service. Gatz is an ambitious undertaking; it's an enactment of The Great Gatsby in which every single word of the novel is spoken.
As if that wasn't daring enough, the action of the play is governed by a single unlikely premise: It opens in a shabby office of an unnamed small business in the early 1990s. As he is waiting for his computer to boot up, an employee, played by Scott Shepherd, finds a copy of The Great Gatsby in the top drawer of his desk. He starts to read it out loud, tentatively at first and then with growing passion. At first, his coworkers hardly notice, but slowly they begin to chime in with dialogue from book. And soon they all transform into characters from The Great Gatsby. The play is a revelation. And both a deeply moving theatrical experience and a profound meditation on the transformative power of reading.
It's also been an enormous hit, wowing audiences around the world. Ironically, although the play has been performed since 2005 or so, because of complicated rights issues, it wasn't able to open in New York City until late 2010 where it sold out in the proverbial New York minute. So, when it went to the McCarter for a limited run in December, I didn't hesitate and I wasn't disappointed. The day after I saw Gatz, I spoke with John Collins who is one of the founders of Elevator Repair Service and director of Gatz. I was curious about a theater company who would be bold enough to pull off this project, so I began our conversation by asking John to tell me how Elevator Repair Service began.
John Collins: Well, it started in 1991. I think I already had an idea coming out of college. I was- just graduated from college and moved to New York. I think I already had an idea that I wanted to work within an ensemble, and I had already started testing out some ideas about how to work that way when I was in school and- which was about assembling a group of people and then with that group of people creating a piece of theater. And of course that can mean a whole bunch of different things. For me it meant deciding on some kind of material or some premise or general idea of a show, getting the people together to create it and creating it in rehearsal so that letting the rehearsal process also be a kind of writing process. So I had an idea about doing that and I had adopted that from what I knew about the Wooster Group at the time and I was a big fan and and not just an admirer of the shows but an admirer of their process and the way they lived and functioned as a company. So I wanted to emulate that and my first show, I don't think I was quite ready to say that we were a theater company or an ensemble with the first show but effectively we were because we made one little piece in 1991. We staged it's similar in some funny ways to Gatz because we staged a Dada play, a published play by Tristan Tzara, which was a kind of it was kind of a nonsense play. It was a lot of found poems and manifestos and this kind of thing, and we staged it against the backdrop of an office. We made the protagonist a hapless office temp so that was the first thing that we did. We got invited to do it again at the same theater and that's where we started learning about how to make drafts of shows, started to understand that what we were doing really was writing shows and that when you write you have to make more than one draft before you get it right. And then we brought many of those same people back to make another show the next year and then just started working, started more or less organically forming an ensemble with a group of people and kept making shows and sort of teaching ourselves the method as we went, which involved a lot of trial and error but it was about doing research and assembling found material and again just making the work from within the rehearsal, not starting with a script. Even though that first show had started with something of a script, it was a script that didn't provide any easy solutions as to how you would stage it or what it would look like on stage.
Jo Reed: What is it about live theater that draws you?
John Collins: Well, I think part of it is it's just what I knew and I think that it's what so many people get introduced to if they're interested in the performing arts or if they're interested in….Maybe they one day want to be a film actor or a film director. They're going to start in a school play, most people. I suppose there are those precocious middle school students who are directing films and deciding --
Jo Reed: Undoubtedly there are.
John Collins: but it was what I knew and I think that there comes a time where you come to understand everything that's awkward and imperfect about live performance and you either love that or you don't and I loved that. I loved, by the time I was in college, I think I understood that making live performance meant dealing with awkward space, dealing with sets that weren't real, having to rehearse in one place and perform in another place. All the kind of physical reality of live performance ultimately I think amounts to something that's awkward and imperfect and that's something that I wanted to embrace in the work that I did. So there was something about making live shows where that element of it was still active and vital and real and threatening even in the finished product because when you're performing theater live all of the same unpredictability, all the same chaos is still present that you have in the rehearsals. You've got a live audience. You don't know what's going to happen. You've got real physical things that have to work over and over again and there's a kind of theater which just tries desperately to spend so much money that they can erase all that unpredictability, there are now famous examples. It's usually expensive things that are the most awkward and imperfect and failed physical experiments so I got into doing this because I thought with theater you can really make a virtue of that and that's what we've always tried to do one way or the other.
Jo Reed: I think your work always makes me think of play and the play that happens on the stage.
John Collins: Playing. Yeah.
Jo Reed: playing because there is a lot of play in your work, obviously in Gatsby as well.
John Collins: Uh huh. Uh huh.
Jo Reed: My other question is why a company? Why were you drawn to that?
John Collins: I think any time you make a piece of theater whether you make it as a Broadway production, a regional theater production or a little community theater production for some amount of time you are creating a theater company because once you hire the actors…. It's a collaborative effort no matter what and your best experience is that way. They're good social experiences too. I think it's rare that an actor or a director or even a designer will have a great experience of a piece of theater but have no personal connections as a part of that, have no social experience of it, and since growing up doing theater and having theater for so much of my life, it organized me socially. It was my social community I guess and that seemed like one of the best reasons to be doing it.
Jo Reed: I would also think the way you work would require a lot of trust among people…
John Collins: Sure --
Jo Reed: …and I think in a company that can be established.
John Collins: It does. I guess what it is is it's that I was drawn to a situation where there would be trust and a kind of social comfort and by deciding to work that way I found that I could make a certain kind of work. It wasn't that in 1991 or '92 I was thinking yes, I need to put together a group of people that will be willing to spend 18 months, 2 years making a piece of theater. I didn't imagine that we'd be doing it that way. That was something that we were able to do as we had the opportunity but because we were working as an ensemble, because I didn't have to say goodbye to all those people 'cause there was a kind of presumption- at the end of a production. There was a kind of assumption that we would be able to put as much of ourselves into a project as the project seemed to require. We were not going to be working on a fixed schedule where after four weeks we'd go into previews and then two weeks later I would disappear and then there'd be this frozen show, which I think is a ridiculous concept.
Jo Reed: Especially in front of a live audience…
John Collins: Yeah.
Jo Reed: Yeah, but the thing about your company or the company I should say, and that is it is the most like the Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney "Hey, let's put on a show," and I mean that in the best possible way. There's that kind of jumping in and enthusiasm and the way it unfolds on the stage, that improvisational working with what you have.
John Collins: Yes. Well, that- that's a big part of it. That's another thing that I wanted to be able to do and I think it was something that I was learning about already, well, I started to say in college but even in high school. My high school did not have a theater, didn't even have an academic drama program. It was entirely extracurricular but we had a fantastic director and an English teacher who cared a lot about making plays and made it a great experience for us, but we were always working in ridiculously inadequate spaces but it didn't matter. And a lot of what we would do in high school were these one-act play competitions which looking back now it seems a little bit absurd to me that we spent so much time competing <laughs> in theater but I think it's just 'cause in southeastern high schools people compete. It's like if you're not on the football team you got to be --
Jo Reed: I was just thinking that.
John Collins: If you're not on a varsity sports team, you got to be able to compete for the school, but one of the rules that one-act play competition had was that you couldn't, you couldn't have any sets or props involved in your show that you didn't use. So we always made shows where…
Jo Reed: That's a cool rule.
John Collins: Yeah, it's a great rule, and it forced a kind of resourcefulness on the production and it gave us a kind of problem to solve. We couldn't just paint a backdrop. We were forbidden from using certain conventional techniques and and from doing the sort of things that you might do if you had a lot of money, which we certainly didn't have. So and then when I got to college I did a lot of theater at Yale that-- The undergraduate theater there also people were constantly putting on shows in converted squash courts and dining halls and attics and most of the theater that happened there was done in unconventional spaces so that's just all I've ever known really, and I've always loved the possibilities that those kind of spaces give you. And then I get to New York and we're working at PS 122, which is in a converted school, and for a long, long time we didn't build sets at all. We just went and looked for interesting architecture to play in and we didn't even have to look for it. We were forced to work within it, you know…
Jo Reed: Gatz was a departure in some ways…
John Collins: It was, yeah.
Jo Reed: Tell me how you arrived there.
John Collins: Well, that was a long, long process but the way we would begin a show was always to just invite the people who were working on it to bring in anything that they were interested in. We were always looking for things that weren't exactly theater that could somehow spawn some interesting work from us, that could give us some kind of interesting problem to solve, and it was Steve Bodow who was the co-director then who brought in The Great Gatsby and he had just reread it and he said, "I love this book. It's got a lot of great old New York in it." Steve and I both really loved old New York history and New York City stuff so the Great Gatsby had a lot of that. And he noticed then that 1999 felt a little bit like 1925, new wealth, a lot of reckless exuberance. It was in the dot-com bubble and --
Jo Reed: It's hard to remember what that was like.
John Collins: I know. <laughs> I know. I know we've been doing this show so long we've gone through a few boom, bust cycles <laughs> but we just looked at it like the way we look at any material when it first comes into the room. We don't know what it's going to become. We don't know where it's going to lead us. It's just a reason to start working, a reason to start talking, playing around, looking for things we can put on stage, so we said, "Sure. Let's give it a try." And I hadn't read it before and I got really excited about it when I read it then. I was 29 and I hadn't read it in high school and I loved it I was surprised. I was really surprised at how much I loved the writing. I was expecting it to feel-- I don't know what I was expecting but I wasn't expecting something that was so clear and lucid and that felt so contemporary. So we started to try to stage some pieces of it. It gets very practical. Again we don't have a plan. We don't really have an idea about an aesthetic or anything. We just said, "Let's look for some scenes that we could put on stage" and as we started to work with the specific scenes, we picked one from chapter one and we picked one from chapter five, we were making what seemed like an obvious choice at the time to start editing out some of the narration, start editing out some of the "he said" and "she said." And that got a little frustrating right away because like any great author Fitzgerald wasn't just writing a script for a play or a movie. The way he describes people talking is sometimes some of the most interesting things that he has to say about them so some of the "he saids" and "she saids" felt like little gems. They felt like things that shouldn't be cut, and somehow in trying to grapple with that we hit on this idea that we should just do the whole thing, that we should not edit it. And the reason that idea excited me at the time was because when I had that thought I finally understood how the book was going to be an interesting problem to solve because just taking it and adapting it into a play did not strike me as a very interesting problem to solve. That felt like a very familiar problem, but to force ourselves to say, "We're going to do every single word of it" that was a huge problem. We used to like to describe things in terms of "Let's do not do it unless it seems impossible" because that's a way of ensuring that we don't have a plan <laughs> because if the task is impossible then it's going to force us to get in and make decisions in rehearsal, solve the problems in rehearsal, and work our way through it and come out with something that we couldn't have predicted.
Scott Shepherd: I turned again to my new acquaintance. "This is an unusual party for me. I haven’t even seen the host. I live over there --" I waved my hand at the invisible hedge in the distance, "and this man Gatsby sent over his chauffeur with an invitation." For a moment he looked at me as if he failed to understand. "I’m Gatsby," he said suddenly. "What!" I exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your pardon." "I thought you knew, old sport. I’m afraid I’m not a very good host." He smiled understandingly --much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced --or seemed to face --the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point, it vanished --and I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.
Almost at that moment when Mr. Gatsby introduced himself, a butler hurried toward him with the information that Chicago was calling him on the wire. He excused himself with a small bow that included each of us in turn.
"If you want anything just ask for it, old sport," he urged me. "Excuse me. I’ll rejoin you later."
So as it turned out, the more we worked with that idea the more we found that it actually worked to keep it all.
Jo Reed: So much I think. I saw it last night. I thought it was absolutely tremendous--
John Collins: Well, thank you.
Jo Reed: and hats off to everybody and what Scott Shepherd did on that stage is just a tour de force.
John Collins: Yeah.
Jo Reed: It's so much a play about the way we read…
John Collins: Yeah.
Jo Reed: about the way characters slowly…
John Collins: Yeah.
Jo Reed: --come to life. I was talking to a friend last night who was just beginning a new book and he said, "It's those moments, the way that play unfolds so tentatively in the beginning, it's exactly what happens when you're first opening a book. Are you going to fall into that world or not and you just don't know."
John Collins: Yeah.
Jo Reed: How did you get to that point? For any reader in the world--
John Collins: Yeah. Well, after we had come to that idea of doing the whole book, we didn't get to work on it very much longer after we did that because that was the first time we tried to ask for permission and we couldn't get it, and something to do with an A&E movie that was coming out then, and so we really just the whole idea aside. It was unusual because we were putting something on the shelf that was already a really inspired choice for us I think, something that felt like a real challenge, and this was the first time I had gotten so excited about a text and that we had such a terrific problem identified to deal with: Keep it a book. Do it as a play but keep it as a book.
Jo Reed: But really make it a theatrical experience.
John Collins: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So for a couple of years it just sat idle. We did a couple of other shows, but then one of the people who I had- who had worked on it in '99 just casually said to me one time, "When are we going to get back to this Gatsby thing?" And we were on a little bit of a break. The company was feeling a little exhausted, a little creatively spent, and we were taking a break, but I was getting restless, and so I said to Scott and to the other actor, the other actor's not in there anymore. He was the actor who played Gatsby for a little while in the very beginning. I said to the two of them, "Why don't we just pull it off the shelf and just mess around with it, just to have something to do?" And we met at the Wooster Group's space at the Performing Garage 'cause I was working there and Scott was also working there. We met on the weekend upstairs in their office and found that there was a part of the office at the Performing Garage where there was almost like a little proscenium. There was this big opening into another room that was bigger, and so I said, "Well, I'll sit in here and you guys sit in there. We'll use this little part of the office here as a found set … just to get ourselves going here." And well, the other thing that we needed at that point was some kind of rationale for reading the whole book and because of the way the book is structured it doesn't begin with a very dramatic scene; it begins with exposition. So nothing's going on but reading really in the beginning and reflection. That's all that Nick is doing in the beginning so I said, "Well, we'll just imagine for fun that Scott, you work in this office and you have this strange obsession with reading The Great Gatsby out loud and James, you'll play his boss and you sort of tolerate it." And we played with that for a little bit and then we started to stage some scenes just in the little office and that felt like we'd hit on something. We came up with the idea there that Scott would try to get the computer working and that he'd find the book in his desk, and that little premise seemed like a good building block. We got excited about it and we said, "Okay. Let's do a short sort of test run. Aand we did that and we got such a terrific reaction to that 30-minute bit that then we all kind of came together and said, "Let's try to do this."
Jo Reed: It's so interesting the way this book unfolds on the stage and in the beginning it's definitely backgrounded to what's going on in the office and the way that shift happens so that the office fades away, and again it really is just like reading because when I read a book that captivates me it does become more real than the people who are sitting next to me at work.
John Collins: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and we started to realize that that would be a good way of conceptualizing the whole thing and also making some macro decisions about it. Some of the toughest I think the most difficult work that we had to do on it was trying to get ourselves into trying to decide when we really did the first scene. It was all about looking for ways in which these odd coincidences in the office could begin to overlap more with what was going on in the book, and so we discovered that okay, there's an argument offstage. I don't remember how exactly we came up with Tom being the first non-narrator speaker.
Jo Reed: It works so well.
John Collins: Yeah, those two characters kinda overlap a little bit, the- the- the rude, oblivious guy with the keys on his belt, you know, who just suddenly interrupts and blurts something out…
Jo Reed: Well you certainly ask a lot from an audience. Six-and-a-half hours of sitting in a theater.
John Collins: Uh-huh.
Jo Reed: But within that you're also asking a lot. Because what is it? In the beginning, a half hour and it’s just Scott reading. We don’t hear from another character for 30 minutes.
John Collins: Yeah. I think it's probably about a half an hour.
Jo Reed: And then it’s not just Scott reading, it’s Scott reading very tentatively and slowly, slowly becoming more involved and more animated.
John Collins: Yeah, that was hard to do because I felt often an urge to get it moving faster. But it just didn't make sense. The book wasn't going to let me do that. And also even though when you've just sat down, you know, in the theater, and normally in any other show, you will be leaving in an hour or an hour and a half. And we have to use the first 30 minutes as a little opening beat <laughs>. You know? It's- it's hard. And I- I- I still get nervous about it. And it still doesn't always work for people. After the end of the first quarter last night, uhm.., you know, after the end of Chapter Three, this couple, they seemed like they were maybe in their early 40s, seemed wealthy, they walked by me. I was sitting at the soundboard. I don't think they just figured I was somebody who worked in the show. They said, "Are there going to be any scene changes? Are there going to be any set changes?" And I said, "No, it's all on that." "Well we're leaving." You know? <Laughs> I was like, well, good- good riddance I guess. Although I kinda wish that I had lied to them and tricked them into staying so that they would- so that they could appreciate the fact there was only one set. And I guess that's good. That’s one of the risks that we take with it. In a way it's an easy show for us to make because we're just- we're just, you know, hitching ourselves to this book, letting it do the work, and just making sure that we're not overindulging or or under-indulging with the staging.
Jo Reed: Gatz began a trilogy…
John Collins: Yes.
Jo Reed: …of basically American modernism. How did you evolve from doing that one play to then taking on The Sound and the Fury and The Sun Also Rises?
John Collins: Well we had developed a habit over time of- of- of trying to make ourselves do something completely different whenever we started a new show; something completely different from the last show. And we had become a little bit stymied. We didn't know how to be completely different every single time. And it was Steve Bodow who- who brought Gatsby in the first time, who- who jokingly proposed-- he said, "Well if we wanna do what we've never done, then let's do the same thing again. We've never done that. Just try to do exactly the same thing again. Let's do another book." And so that seemed like a great idea to me. Because I knew that if we chose another novel I would feel compelled to do it in a completely different way; I would need- I would need it to give me a new set of problems. And I was feeling very-- yes of…
Jo Reed: And The Sound and the Fury. You asked for it.
John Collins: Yup, you got it, yeah. I had come to really appreciate modernism, and modernist writing, and the way that kind of language, unlike-- you know, some literature even 20 or 30 years before, this was a kind of language that was accessible in a way, and the lyricism of it felt contemporary almost. And I liked the way Fitzgerald wrote, and I thought, well what if we look to another novel from that period? And I had always had, you know, on my back burner that I should take on Southern literature at some point. I had studied Southern literature. I could relate to it. I'm from the South, and I always thought Southern literature had something to say about the South that other forms of popular entertainment always got wrong. You know, there was something about the strangeness and the sort of mysterious beauty of the south, you know, that was all mixed up in all of its troubled history that I always thought went under-appreciated in popular culture. And somehow I knew I would- I would take on some piece of Southern literature. And Faulkner was, you know after awhile that part of The Sound and Fury was just the 800-pound gorilla in the room. There was no avoiding it. You know, it was clearly the most challenging. So we had to try it. So we just started reading some Faulkner. We decided to do something southern. And when we read The Sound and the Fury aloud, we read that chapter, the Benjy chapter, I understood it in a way I had never understood it before. And it wasn't that- that all the mysteries of what exactly was going on were solved. But- but I heard the sort of musicality of it, and I heard the humor. And and it just lifted off the page in this beautiful way. And I thought, "Well we have to do this then." You know? And the problem then became, you know, Faulkner's structure, and how to- how to deal with that …
Jo Reed: It's a monologue that chapter, basically.
John Collins: I mean, it's not a monologue in the same way that some of his kind of, you know, stream of consciousness not quite like Absalom, Absalom!. But it is all being told from Benjy's perspective. And he has no sense of time. So that was gonna be just a really great problem to dig into. And we were still without thinking about it too much, we were still doing it in a sort of verbatim way. I didn't really know of another way to approach literature yet, except to do it exactly as it was written. And after we finished that, I- I was ready to be done with, you know, reading every word of the book on stage. I mean, we didn't do the whole book. We did the first chapter; which you can kind of treat as a novel, that- that first of four sections. And after that, then I wanted to do it one more time. Because I really wanted to let go of that requirement that we do it verbatim. I was starting to take that for granted, and at that point I thought, "Well if we did one other novel. Let's really make this a trilogy, let's make this a larger project." That for me was going to be about figuring out how to work inside of literature. And it was three distinct approaches then; and with The Sun Also Rises. When we read that one-- you know, I'm always- I'm- I'm- I'm often working off some initial strong impulse and the initial strong impulse with The Great Gatsby was that this book cannot be cut; this book cannot be edited. You can make that argument about any work of any author. But there's something very particular about- about The Great Gatsby and the way that Fitzgerald wrote it and the way that Maxwell Perkins edited it with it; was that they really made it feel I think the two of them together made it feel like there was not a single wasted word, and that it- and that it had a kind of perfection that I wanted to lead with that. With The Sun Also Rises, it was different; my response to it was different. I was completely in love with the dialogue. And that told me that I might have the opportunity to try this thing that I had been avoiding.
Jo Reed: Now with The Sun Also Rises every word in the play is written by Hemingway, it’s from the book, but you don’t use all of the text, you just use the dialogue.
John Collins: That's right. We kept some of the narration. The task is finding the theatrical form that the thing is going to take. And I found a theatrical form in Fitzgerald's overall structure. I saw that that was going to work as a theatrical form. So I don't have a belief that there is only one way to put literature on stage, and it's to do it exactly as the author did it. My priority is what's going to be the most interesting problem for me to solve, as a theater maker, and then what is going to work as theater. And that should be different every single time.
Jo Reed: Initially, were you surprised at the reaction you got to Gatz? You're asking people to come for a very long play, in an era which we're assured that our attention spans are shrinking by the nanosecond.
John Collins: Well I was. I mean, sure I was worried about that. And I mean, I- I didn't know and we were hedging a lot early on. You know, we were planning on only showing it in halves, except on the weekends we would show the whole thing. It took us and me it took me about until a couple of years of doing it to finally realize that we should not be showing it in halves; that we should never be breaking it up and telling people they can see one half one half- one day and the other half the other day. So on the one hand we were trying to build in all kinds of protections; like where do we put the intermissions; and, you know, making sure that people had the opportunity to see it on two different days. On the other hand we were learning as we went that and we knew somehow too that the stunt aspect of it was an asset; you know, that because it was- because of the way it was defined, it was an entire book. It wasn't as though we just made a play, like the kind of play we had been making but decided to make this one seven hours long. I think that that probably would've been a disaster <chuckles>.
Jo Reed: Yeah.
John Collins: And- and so it's not just that, you know-- I mean, it isn't I don't think we've simply succeeded in showing that, you know, plays can be this long. I mean, they can, and we weren't the first to do that. We found a specific rationale for the length of our play that I think amounts to a kind of contract between us and the audience; which is that you know what you're getting. We're gonna do this show this way, and we're not gonna make it any longer than it has to be. You have to be able to continue to feel that whatever time you're taking, you are doing it for the sake of commitment, and that it's not just indulgent.
Jo Reed: And I think that comes across on the stage wonderfully. Thank you John. I really appreciate it.
John Collins: You've very welcome.
Jo Reed: And really, congratulations.
John Collins: Thank you.
Jo Reed: It was wonderful.
John Collins: Thank you. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
Jo Reed: I did, very much.
John Collins: Good.
Jo Reed: Thank you. That was John Collins he directed Gatz, The Elevator Repair Service's production of The Sun Also Rises is playing at the McCarter Theater from October 26 through November 4.
You’ve been listening to Art Works, produced at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Adam Kampe is the musical supervisor.
The music composed and performed by Lee Blaske.
Excerpts from Gatz performed by Scott Shepherd and Jim Fletcher. Directed by John Collins, sound designed by Ben Williams, used courtesy of Elevator Repair Service.
You can subscribe to Art Works at iTunes U -- just click on the iTunes link on our podcast page. Next week, 2012 Bess Lomax Hawes recipient, traditional arts advocate, Al Head.
To find out how art works in communities across the country, keep checking the Art Works blog, or follow us @NEAARTS on Twitter. For the National Endowment for the Arts, I'm Josephine Reed. Thanks for listening.