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The Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

Catherine (Callie) and Nick hold a conversation in the mayhem of Tom’s NY apartment

by Shelley Bennett

I was excited to learn that the LHS Drama department chose The Great Gatsby as their spring play. As an angsty eleventh grader, Gatsby spoke to me on many levels. I felt for Nick when he had a strong sense of loneliness even amidst the lavish parties and upper class of East Egg.

Drama teacher and director Jenn Lepage said a student suggest Gatsby last September and she thought it would help her “lure” Rachel Vincent into helping her. They have both taught the novel to hundreds of 11th graders and know it inside and out. Who better than to bring it life for the students at LHS?

The cast has been in rehearsals for several months and are ready to present their show. Lepage notes, “Even though things may not be progressing the way you have planned in your mind, it’s important to remain hopeful and trust your cast and crew.”

Last week I sat in on a rehearsal and was impressed with the students who filled in for others who had track practice, were sick, or just absent for other reasons. Callie Baldwin started by holding a key prop in the Valley of Ashes scene and continued by grabbing a script and filling in as Catherine.

Vincent said that this is the first time being involved in a show since her own acting and directing in high school. She pointed out that the technical aspects are all digitalized and will include a “scrim” which is a giant screen where a projector can project images for the background or setting.

Tom’s (Peter) conversation with Myrtle escalates into physical violence
Nick (Whitney) and Tom (Peter) discuss the Valley of Ashes

Whitney Kellogg, president of the Performing Arts club, is playing Nick Carraway, our narrator in the novel. Lepage praised Kellogg for taking her office “to heart” and doing everything in her power to make this the “best year and show yet”.

The object of Gatsby’s affection, Daisy Buchanan, is being played by Lily Ammon, who also serves as the Public Relations chair. Ammon recreated Baz Luhrmann’s movie poster with our own student actors and Lepage commented, “it’s gorgeous!”

Working man George Wilson is played by Isaiah Williams. According to Lepage, Williams is a “loyal and dedicated member of the cast” who is willing to fill in for different roles and help with anything needed. He will also play the Minister in the last scene of the play. Aryanna Saltsgaver plays Wilson’s wife, Myrtle.

Peter Nielsen is playing Tom Buchanan, the overbearing and unfaithful husband of Daisy. Peter has also stepped up to take on the unofficial role of Stage Manager with meticulously organizing the props and sets.

Rounding out the cast is Austin Whitby as Jay Gatsby, Sophia Davis as Jordan Baker, Jimena Guitierrez Agredano as Catherin, and Simon Talley in the role of Meyer Wolfsheim and Mr Gatz.

Don’t miss The Great Gatsby this Friday at 6:00 and Saturday with a matinee at 2:00 and an evening show at 6:00. All shows take place in the drama room in the 700 building. Tickets are $8/adults and students and $6/children, senior citizens, and students with an ASB sticker.

Callie Baldwin helps to set the scene with the iconic eyes of Dr TJ Eckleberg

Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to shelleybennett24@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”

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