Budapest Summer Festival

The Don Quijote of America – or masterful self-destruction

Friday, 26 January 2018 07:37

A little bit hellish, but still magical story

The most popular story about the self-destructive, extravagant world of 1920s, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will premiere as a luxurious balett show on the Margeret Island Open Air Theatre.

Chasing money, success, disappointment, the need to prove oneself, love, jazz, alcohol, psychological problem, narcotics: these are some of the characteristics of America in the 1920s, and consequently, these also describe the era’s greatest author and his most famous work. Nobody could capture the 1920s world of foxtrott, jazz, money, sin and drugs as Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. But by the time he was immortalized with his novel, he too became a human wreck, a faded star and the idol of self-destruction in his time.

The fiancée (and eventual wife) of the young upstart author, Zelda Sayre broke off their engagement, claiming that even though Fitzgerald had taken second jobs in order to support her social life, he still wasn’t making enough money. The engagement was renewed after the unexpected and sudden success of Fitzgerald’s first novel, launching into the couple’s legendary extravagant lifestyle. The author had serious drinking problems and was forced to take increasingly more narcotics due to his bipolar disorder, yet he still strangled by the need to feel accepted by his wife, who had her own demons with her several nervous breakdowns. That’s why Fitzgerald was the right person to paint a portrait of the era – ust like his peers and Don Quijote, he too was fighting with the windmills for reaching the "American Dream."

There have been six film adaptations of his novel, including the two times Academy Award winning 1974 version, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow whose film was based on a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, and one of the most emotional film of the past years, Baz Baz Luhrmann extravagant movie with Leonardo di Caprióval in the title role. A fun bit of trivia is that in order to match the luxury and extravagancy depicted on screen, the film spanned the largest costume budget of the year: Prada designed 40 clothes for the movie while the real diamonds were provided by Tiffany and Co. who had to order a separate security service for them during the shooting.

On 6 and 7 July 2018, Jazz fever will sweep across the Margaret Island as well with a magnificent balettshow, featuring international stars on stage, performing the moves created by the choreographed of Cirque du Soleil. What’s sure: what we’re about to see will be much more than balett and we can expect a magical evening. The recently premiered balett show touring the world will be seen for the first time in Hungary at the invitation of the Open Air Theatre.

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Publisher: Teodóra Bán managing director
Graphic design: Balázs Zsirke
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