The issues that surfaced obsessively throughout the campaign season—the nature of American identity, democracy, freedom; the specter of persistent economic decline; the corrosive resentment of nebulous elites—were also strikingly present in several productions on Chicago stages during the summer and fall.
Blending lyrical melancholy with sharply absurdist wit, the play hunts avidly after the conditions of significant action and utterance even as it toys with the possibility that none exist. The play’s central conceit concerns the diary that Faustus has kept during the decades of his infernal bargain; madly, in order to thwart the demon’s interest in reading his most intimate thoughts, the doctor has resorted to inscribing nothing but random groupings of hatchmarks in his book.
When we say that the piece transforms our understanding of Fitzgerald’s novel, what are we trying to say? As members of Gatz‘s audience, how do we locate ourselves?