Of mansions and motifs

Explore the Great Gatsby - the Buchanan's mansion and pier with its green light from Gatsby's estate: "“I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him."
Explore the Great Gatsby – the Buchanan’s mansion and pier with its green light from Gatsby’s estate: ““I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

At 09:00 SLT,  the Seanchai Library’s retelling of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic tale, The Great Gatsby draws to a close as Corwyn Allen reads the final part of the story. The reading will take place at Explore the Great Gatsby Online, the interactive venue conceived and developed by Caledonia Skytower as a part of Seanchai Library’s presence in Kitely, and operating in support of a production of Simon Levy’s stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which also ends it run at the Tacoma Little Theatre (TLT) on February 8th.

I’ve covered Explore the Great Gatsby twice  so far in this blog. The first time as a result of an invitation extended to me by Caledonia and TLT’s Managing Artistic Director Chris Serface ahead of the official opening of the installation and the play. This gave me the opportunity to preview the unique collaborative, cross-functional and educational nature of the partnership between Seanchai Library and TLT. My second, more recent visit, was to explore the initial sets visitors to the installation would be able to explore, and the opportunities within them to discover more about the story, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writings, and the man himself.

As indicated in both of those articles, the Explore the Great Gatsby installation was intended to grow over time, thus encouraging visitors – particularly those who attended TLT’s performances of the play –  to make return visits. Given the significance of Sunday, February 8th as noted above, I also decided to take a further trip to Explore the Great Gatsby and see the latest additions and updates.

Explore the Great Gatsby - Gatsby's mansion: "The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden."
Explore the Great Gatsby – Gatsby’s mansion: “The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.”

New since my last visit is the Gothic opulence of Jay Gatsby’s “new money” mansion, its great towers and spires rising high above the trees, fairly shouting news of the wealth of their owner to the world at large. The scene of lavish parties – all intended to lure Daisy Buchanan to his door – the mansion’s ground floor can be explored by visitors, and several iconic elements have been reproduced, including the location of the final scene of tragedy, the swimming pool. There are a number of interactive elements to the mansion, which provide gateways to further information on the novel, so careful examination of the rooms is encouraged!

Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s mansion (which serves as a façade for a model of the Tacoma Little Theatre), has undergone further exterior work, allowing it to stand in strong contrast to Gatsby’s ostentatiousness, exactly as F. Scott Fitzgerald intended.  Thus it – and the bay which sits between it and Gatsby’s edifice – serves to underline Fitzgerald’s observation of the divide that existed between those of established wealth and those newly-rich.

Explore the Great Gatsby - The buchanan's mansion: "Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay ... The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens."
Explore the Great Gatsby – The buchanan’s mansion: “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay … The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens.”

With a wealth of interactive elements throughout, including links to the Tacoma Little Theatre, resources that explore the story of the Great Gatsby in more detail, and the opportunity to really immerse yourself a a piece of truly great American literature, Explore the Great Gatsby is very much worth taking the time to visit – and if you haven’t already done so, I’d urge you to so – it will remain open and available to visitors through until March 1st, 2015.

Signing-up to Kitely (if you need to) is easy, and the Seanchai Library team provide the necessary guidance for those who might need it. What’s more, once you are signed-up, you have the freedom to explore the rest of Seanchai Library’s extensive projects and offerings in both the Seanchai Homeworld, and through their satellite worlds.

Explore the Great Gatsby - you can also explore other locations within the installation, such as the Fitzgerald Gallery, the Welcome Centre and that other iconic landmark from the the story, the Valley of Ashes: "But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg."
Explore the Great Gatsby – you can also explore other locations within the installation, such as the Fitzgerald Gallery, the Welcome Centre and that other iconic landmark from the the story, the Valley of Ashes: “But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.”

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