Standing By: Gatz Backstage, 2012-2015

feature length documentary, 76 minutes

Project website:

Standing By: Gatz Backstage is an atmospheric portrait of backstage life during Elevator Repair Service’s acclaimed, theatrical work Gatz, during which every word of The Great Gatsby is voiced and enacted onstage. This observational and poetic documentary, shot over six days in London, follows the company through a composite day, condensing a series of 8-hour performances into a 79-minute film. Offering a look behind the scenes, Standing By reveals the daily routines and rhythms, the backstage choreography, and the heightened world of shadows and whispers existing in a vibrant realm just beyond the audience’s view. The film captures performers in a spectral half-light – as they rest, check email, watch the Wimbledon finals, get a massage, prepare for the next scene – navigating transitional states somewhere between themselves and the characters they inhabit onstage. Standing By does not attempt to document the performance, but follows an alternative narrative, using the play as a backdrop to the film, marking time as the story of The Great Gatsby unfolds. We hear voices and music from the stage, along with audience reactions, but the performance is only experienced in glimpses, from the point of view of a performer waiting in the wings. Standing By was made with support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Individual Artists Program. Direction and Cinematography:  Shaun Irons Editing:  Lauren Petty & Shaun Irons Original Music:  Brian Rogers