Open Forum

The Great Gatsby

  • 1.  The Great Gatsby

    Posted 12-31-2018 15:23
    I normally include my senior theatre students when deciding on our big spring production. Their pick for 2019.....The Great Gatsby! Any thoughts, ideas, previous experience with the play. I have been teaching theater 4 yrs. with no FORMAL training. We have pulled out some great full length productions but the SET is what worries me. HELP!!!

    Mary Bowen
    Jeffersontown H.S.
    Jr. English
    Theater Instructor
    Jr. Class Sponsor

  • 2.  RE: The Great Gatsby

    Posted 01-02-2019 09:31
    Edited by Sadie Andros 01-02-2019 09:33
    Hi! I directed The Great Gatsby with an awesome group of high schoolers two years ago (they picked it as well).

    I would say the biggest challenge for us was definitely the set because--in a very musical-esque way--the show does jump around a lot in location. We made rectangular columns that rotated and folded open (each of the four sides as well as the interior parts of the sides were painted with different settings). We created a piece that represented the end of a dock and left that on stage throughout the duration of the show. We also had a couple of pieces that came in (mostly furniture, but also a couple of plants/a fence/a gas station sign and pump, a drink cart, and a great big yellow car). A student painted the eyes for the billboard and we flew that in and out as necessary. Not sure if any of that information helps but I found that the faster you can transition from place to place the better.

    Another challenge is definitely staging the car crash. We were lucky to have an AMAZING car prop built by the father of one of the girls in the production. We were able to roll it in and then use light and sound cues to simulate the crash before the lights came back up and Myrtle was lying dead on the stage with the car exiting into the other wing. I would say this is a huge set/prop need and definitely needs to be figured out early.

    The most fun thing that we did was add in some music. I had some of the kids in the jazz band play some music during intermission and as the audience was coming in. (we did a very jazzy version of Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey as well as some other modern songs with a 20s twist) We also had Daisy sing "La Vie en Rose" during the one party scene where she performs and had a student trumpet player on stage with her. That was my favorite part about doing the show! The kids loved the music so much that one of my cast gifts from the girl who played Daisy was a music box that played the song and had her famous beautiful fool quote engraved in the wood.

    Lastly, I would also be sure to have some mature conversations with your actors on violence in relationships, racism/prejudice, and sexism. The play, like the novel, deals with some dark stuff.

    I hope some of that info helps! Break a leg!

    Sadie Andros
    Theatre Director
    Lewes DE

  • 3.  RE: The Great Gatsby

    Posted 01-02-2019 11:07
    Edited by George Ledo 01-02-2019 11:07
    Not knowing anything about your school, your schedule, or your budget and resources, I'm going to suggest bringing in a professional set designer. It'll be a great investment not only in the show, but also in the audience and student experience.

    Here are a few thought on this from my blog:

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 4.  RE: The Great Gatsby

    Posted 01-10-2019 13:20
    Thank you Sadie.  You provided some very creative ideas that I will be using in the production.

    Mary Bowen
    Louisville KY