By the Book: Adaptation, Work and Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz

Catherine Love

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This article focuses on Gatz (2004 – 2012), the Elevator Repair Service production which staged every last word of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, using it as a prism through which to look at theatre and work in the context of neoliberal capitalism. With reference to both adaptation studies and the concept of immaterial labour, I argue that adaptations in general and Gatz in particular offer a fertile site for exploring the complexities of theatrical work. In rendering The Great Gatsby for the stage, Elevator Repair Service make explicit many of the different forms of labour that theatre usually seeks to conceal, thus disrupting capitalist relations in ways similar to those discussed by Nicholas Ridout in Passionate Amateurs and Stage Fright, Animals and Other Theatrical Problems. The article also suggests that, as well as prompting productive questions about the hierarchy, division and visibility of creative work, Gatz’s critique of immaterial labour has the potential to shift popular understandings of theatre away from the idea of the individual genius and towards recognition of collaborative creative labour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Issue number2
Early online date6 May 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2016

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