Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby brought to life at CVHS

Posted on 12/04/2017
by Katie Kerr
News Editor

Every year students taking American Literature at Cumberland Valley High School read one of the most well known literary pieces in America, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This year the Barefoot Players, a theater club which puts on multiple plays every year, brought this 1920’s Romeo and Juliet-esque novel to life. CVHS hosted the play from Friday November 17 to Sunday November 19.
Set in the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby follows the lavish life of Jay Gatsby through the narrator, Nick Carraway’s eyes. Throughout the play, Nick gets wrapped up in trying to reunite Gatsby and his cousin Daisy, a married woman Gatsby had a fling with before he was shipped off to fight in the war. While the first part of the play may seem straightforward, many unforeseen twists have yet to come.
Each year the Barefoot Players elect a president who will direct that years fall play; this year Senior Freddie Miller was put to the task of producing Simon Levy’s interpretation of Fitzgerald’s work. To prepare to direct the play, Miller did his research and took his time looking over the smallest details to get everything just right.
“I read Gatsby multiple times and each time made sure that I was taking note of the themes, the imagery, [and] the characters. As soon as the show was cast, I sat down with my cast and did an analysis of the show to make sure they too understood the work,” Miller said. Miller also took the time to sit and talk with English teachers to see what they could add to his discussion.
Because the novel was based on a time period almost a century ago, Miller decided to update the play to the 21st century by using music from the 2013 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Leaving no time to waste, Miller started rehearsals as soon as casting was complete. “We had auditions in late September and started rehearsals the following week. The entire show was staged in a week, and we spent the majority of October and the first part of November drilling the show,” Miller said.
Without Gatsby there would be no play, so Senior Kyle Martin was there to take on the role. Taking on such a well known character was daunting, but Martin got the job done and portrayed Gatsby perfectly right down to his accent.
“It was thrilling but also terrifying [to take on this role]. Because this novel is so well known, most people have either read the book or seen the [movies]. So many people have their own version of Gatsby that they see, whether that be Leonardo DiCaprio, Redford, or (even more commonly), one they have created in their minds,” Martin said.
“It was absolutely important that my character was created solely from the text I was handed, and that I didn't copy another actor. Once I found peace with the character I had created, the Gatsby I had decide to portray, I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to bring him to life every night.”
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