Friday, September 2, 2011
The Select (The Sun Also Rises) **
After seeing Gatz, Elevator Repair Service's brilliantly staged version of The Great Gatsby last Fall, I was keenly anticipating their adaptation of Hemingway's novel, now in previews at New York Theatre Workshop. Alas, lightning did not strike twice, at least not for me. At 3 1/2 hours, it seemed twice as long as Gatz's 6 1/2 hours. If all the scenes of people drinking or talking about being drunk were omitted, it would barely run 30 minutes. The material rarely engaged my full interest, for which I blame Hemingway more than the adaptors. Also, the anti-Semitic streak left a very bad taste in my mouth. Of the mostly excellent cast of ten, I would single out Ben Williams (as Bill Gorton) and Susie Sokol (as Pedro Romero) as especially notable. Casting a woman as the macho bullfighter was a clever choice. There are two lively dance sequences and a marvelously staged bullfight. Special mention must be made of the sound design: Every clink of glasses, gurgle of wine pouring and pop of champagne corks is there, plus sound gags from a typewriter and a hotel desk bell. When the sound effects are more memorable than the words, something is amiss. John Collins directed.