Get your buns ready — this fall, The Public Theater is producing “Gatz,” a self-described “theatrical and literary tour de force,” and they mean it: “Gatz”?is a reenactment of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby” and clocks in at over six-and-a-half hours (don’t worry, there’s a dinner break). But artistic director Oskar Eustis assures us we won’t need NoDoz for this or any of The Public’s fall productions.
Is this one of the longest plays you’ve staged?
It’s not even the longest production this fall! “The Great Game” is three evenings long. That’s nine hours of theater. Take that, Gatsby.
So, will the audience members need uppers or what?
It’s the most lightly touched-upon six hours I’ve ever spent in the theater. Each time, time flies by. They’ve really captured the heart of “Gatsby;” you get caught up in the lives of these characters. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in the theater.
What do you love most about “Gatz”?
The thing that is poignant for me is that I’ve been trying for five years to bring it here. I saw it for the first time before I even moved here. At times, I never thought I would get the rights. But truth and justice have won out.
It’s rare that happens.
It’s only in the theater but I’ll take it.
“The Merchant of Venice” and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” both Public productions, are making the leap to Broadway. It’s a big time for you guys.
Yes, I’m extremely happy. Everything that is happening feels like a culmination of what we’ve worked on for years. It feels like we’ve gotten exactly the right team in place to make The Public move. It’s a very gratifying time.
Maybe you should take your skills to something that really needs fixing, like government or banking.
[Laughs.] I don’t know. My whole little communism thing might get in the way.