Elevator Repair Service | The heart is a turbulent riot. Sep 23, 2007

by Tania Kupczak

i saw the elevator repair service perform the great gatsby tonight at on the boards. perform, perhaps, does not describe it. they read. the entire. book. from beginning to end. starting at 5pm and reading that last beautifully alliterate line about boats and pasts and inevitability until 1:15 in the fucking morning. hardcore. and a whole big audience strapped in for the ride, like we were about to get on the plane that was going to take us on vacation to that island in the caribean (or however you spell that goddam word) where shitty theatre is against the law and there is a promise that your time won't be wasted. instead. in fact. it will be cherished and celebrated and poured over with the most decadant, graceful irreverent language that ever spent a summer in the hamptons. god, it was good. partially because the evening was hard fought. not a tourist event. a monument to how beautifully this language that i bow down to at the moment can weave us as tiny, eager people through grand experience and heartbreaking images. please keep talking, nick carroway. please tell me, show me, try to hide how obvious it is why jay gatsby is in fact great and worthy of a novel and a decent funeral for chrissake. holy christ when tom breaks myrtle's nose i lose my breath every time, whether i'm ready and reading or listless and listening. the whole thing was set against a back drop of a regular day in a nondescript office with malfunctioning outdated computers and a phone that won't stop ringing and dis gruntled employees sitting on their procrass tination. and for the first three hours, we're there. for sure. we're buying the office. we recognize these folks from tv and the dmv and it's funny, and somehow poignant to be describing these huge parties and haughty affluence and white dresses against a mundane setting of brown curdoroy and peeling wallpaper and cheap vodka hidden in file cabinet drawers. but by the fifth hour, we have surrendered that narration along with any responsibility we were grasping around time of day or sequence of events or sense in the framework. maybe we became too tired to care about the framework, or maybe fitzgerald finally found his way into us. like maybe we transcended. only just a little bit. and theatrical time and space only served to hear the words more deeply to know the people with a little more dimension to blow humor into the heartbreak that is gatsby's relentless love for daisy. i'm not sure. i only know i wept. openly. in the end of the seventh hour, as nick described this country and the wonder that every so often we get to wrap ourselves in when we can see the world clearly. for a heartbeat a rise and fall of a tide. anyways. i cried. and would have sat there for another seven hours in quiet reverence and communion and a sort of human surrender to how awe some language and space and people sitting together can be. i wish i could remember that line. something about "his heart was a reckless and turbulent riot." i kinda wish i could remember the entire thing.
- marya sea kaminski