Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!  

The A Night at Gatsby’s video provides viewers with an immersion into Gatsby’s world that preserves the novel’s voice while being a new model for interactive storytelling. The production’s nighttime setting and mix of intimate practical sets and expansive digital sets make it ideal for recording on a virtual production stage. The viewer’s immersive perspective from the center-stage patio reveals Gatsby’s mansion and car, bar, orchestra, dancers, Daisy’s mansion, and sky.

The graphic below provides a summary of the five dramatic scenes arrayed clockwise by time of night from 7pm to 4am around a diagram of the production stage that shows the practical and digital sets. The eye represents the central point-of-view of both the VR camera and the viewer. The stage integrates the practical set pieces — Gatsby’s library, patio, bar, and orchestra — with digital extensions on LED or green screen panels that serve as both background and lighting for the production. The panels display the dynamic digital imagery of Daisy’s mansion and Gatsby’s car flanking his mansion, and the open spaces of the dancers, grounds, pool, and sky to complete the total immersion in Gatsby’s party and its dramatic conversations, activities, music, and atmosphere.


While the A Night at Gatsby's viewer is a non-speaking guest, there are many opportunities in the video for viewer agency — the ability to interact or react within the dramatic and music prelude scenes. 

Scene 1 (7 pm). Guests direct some of their dialogue about Gatsby's shady past to the viewer. The viewer may inspect the store receipt and book with uncut pages.

Scene 2 (8 pm). The conductor taps and points his baton directly at the viewer and says: “This song is for you” before the orchestra begins playing a fox trot. With an MR headset/glasses, the viewer sees a digital hand give the conductor a thumbs-up or another acknowledgement. The viewer may read Gatsby’s boyhood inscription in Hopalong Cassidy book, and inspect Gatsby’s war medal and Oxford University photo.

Scene 3 (10 pm). A waiter walks up to the viewer with a tray of cocktails and asks: “Excuse me! Care for a drink?” With an MR headset/glasses, the viewer sees a digital hand reach out for the cocktail glass. The viewer may inspect Gatsby’s Dan Cody photos and scrapbook about Daisy.

Scene 4 (12 am). A guest walks up to the viewer with an extended hand and asks: “Hello! May I have this dance?” With an MR headset/ glasses, the viewer sees a digital hand reach out for the dancer’s hand. Throughout this confrontational dramatic scene, the characters direct some of their remarks to the viewer. The viewer may read the private eye’s letter about Gatsby.

Scene 5 (4 am). The blues singer directs her song “Downhearted Blues” to the viewer as Klipspringer plays the song on the library piano. The viewer may read Gatsby's telegram to Daisy. 

The varying set footprints over the five scenes add visual language to the production’s narrative arc — exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Scene 1 introduces Gatsby’s story through some guests’ second-hand rumors (exposition) while taking place only at the 6-seat patio table. Scene 2 adds Gatsby himself and his crony Wolfsheim to extend and clarify his story (rising action), expanding the drama to the whole patio. Gatsby’s theatrical pitch in scene 3 to win back Daisy with romantic gestures and famous guests (climax) plays out over the entire stage. In the confrontational scene 4, Gatsby tries and fails to lure Daisy away from Tom (falling action) within the confines of the 6-seat table. And in scene 5, Gatsby’s final but unspoken realization of his broken dream (resolution) unfolds on a darkened stage at the half-lit 6-seat table.

                                                 Spatial Audio

Spatial audio is a powerful way to fully immerse viewers and direct attention within an immersive production via sound. With spatial audio, the entire spherical sound field is audible and responds to changes in viewer head rotation. Spatial audio gives viewers the impression of directionality and a believable auditory experience that matches what they see.

Spatial audio involves the manipulation of audio signals to mimic acoustic behavior in the real world. An accurate sonic representation of a virtual world creates a compelling and immersive experience. Spatial audio is best heard through an enabled pair of headphones or earphones—no special speakers, hardware, or multi-channel headphones are required.

Spatial audio not only serves to enhance the immersion but is also effective in alerting viewers to dramatic moments within the presentation. It directs viewers’ attention during the music preludes when they are likely to be looking around the stage. The conductor’s tapping baton in prelude 2, the waiter’s “Excuse me!” in prelude 3 and the dancer’s “Hello!” in prelude 4 all alert viewers to these characters’ subsequent comments and actions.

                                                Haptic Devices

Haptic technology creates an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the viewer. These technologies can support virtual interactions and incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the digital interface. Haptics are gaining widespread acceptance as a key part of virtual reality systems, adding the sense of touch to previously visual-only interfaces.

Apple’s 2023 patent for finger-mounted devices will provide the user’s fingers with sensations of texture, force, motion, resistance, and vibration as the user interacts with computer-generated and real-world objects. The unit may include one or more U-shaped devices to be mounted on a user's fingers while gathering sensor input and supplying haptic output. The finger devices and the headsets’ hand-tracking capability will enable viewers to grasp and manipulate the many digital objects — books, photos, drinks, memorabilia, letters, telegrams — presented to them throughout the production.

A more interesting haptic test occurs in music prelude 4 when the Girl in Yellow asks to dance with her hand extended to the viewer. Viewers see and feel their device-equipped hand in the headset grasping the dancer’s hand and, as they stand up, extend their other device-equipped hand around the dancer and sense her back. To the spatial audio music of the fox trot “Jimmy (I love but you)” viewers will have the visual, aural and tactile experience of dancing at Gatsby’s party! 


250 East 87 Street
New York, NY 10128

About us

A Night at Gatsby’s is a reimagination of The Great Gatsby that preserves the novel’s voice while breaking the fourth wall and immersing viewers in one of Jay Gatsby’s unforgettable parties to relive his story from the initial rumors and lies about Gatsby, through his reunion with Daisy and confrontation with Tom, and ending with his lonely farewell.


Photo of OHEKA CASTLE by Elliott Kaufman Photography