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.
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.
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office with malfunctioning outdated computers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