Photo by Ahron Foster

Exclusive Interview with Gatz Director, John Collins

As noted in an earlier post, the Berkeley Rep is staging  a blockbuster this month as Gatz makes its Bay Area debut.

According to spokesmen, the “astonishing tour de force” has sold out runs at The Public Theater, Sydney Opera House, in London’s West End, and at theatres and festivals around the world.

In this exclusive interview, director John Collins, shares his views on what makes this play especially meaningful for ferry riders.

Cultural Currents: Many ferry riders are avid readers who may be seen clutching slender volumes of Gatsby as they make their journey home. Can you describe the role of water imagery plays in this masterpiece?

John Collins: That’s an interesting question, since the body of water separating East Egg from West Egg represents a cultural divide as well. It’s the old money from the new money.

CC: Because the motif of water is commonly used as a symbol of rebirth and purity throughout Gatsby, may we assume that ferry riders will find this play of special appeal?

Collins: Yes, and they may also appreciate the fact that it’s a story about manners. It’s called Courtesy Bay, after all. Then there’s the reference to “the green breast of the New World,”

About how Long Island may have appeared to the early discoverers.

CC: The Bay symbolizes the emotional distance between Daisy and Gatsby as well. He reaches for the green light on the coast, but he can’t truly reach it until he crosses the water. Does this symbolize Daisy’s life without Gatsby, or is it more than that?

Collins: The green light is an important symbol, and something that ferry riders should recognize as something that illuminates the horizon.

CC: The ferry is a particularly ethereal mode of transport. Where does the transcendent spirit in Gatsby lie?

Collins: The book is rooted to images of travel by car and train, but all the movement contained in its pages speak to alienation. The Bay, by contrast, represents a way to reconnect.