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Behind the Scenes of The Great Gatsby with Maya Schroder

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On November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, Green Hope Theatre will be putting on a production of The Great Gatsby, based on the iconic novel. Falcon News Feed interviewed members of the cast and crew to learn more about their experience in creating the show and what to expect.

Maya Schroder is the Assistant Director of the show, and has shared with us insight about the show and her role in it.

Can you tell us more about the story of The Great Gatsby?

Gatsby is about Nick Carraway and his journey to becoming a rich man. Along the way, he meets Jay Gatsby, who is utterly in love with Nick’s cousin, Daisy. It’s set in the 1920s, and the time period can be seen clearly in the story and our show, with the parties, flapper dresses, and Prohibition. The time period is also reflected in Nick’s desire to be rich.

Why did Mr. Gorski choose this story?

He chose it partially because he knew it was a popular story and very familiar and exciting for a lot of people. It’s a story that definitely makes you think and makes you realize that that time period was truly pathetic. People let their desires and obsessions consume their lives. That also serves as a message to our audience — understanding how your actions affect others.

What makes this show unique?

One thing that we’ve worked on is, because it’s adapted from a well-known novel, there was a focus on textual analysis. We looked at characters in-depth. Our dramaturg made sure all of the costumes are period-appropriate. A lot of times the plays are dramatic, and though this one is too, there are a lot of exciting moments and joy on the stage as well.

What is the hardest part of of pulling off a show like this?

Firstly, staying appropriate to the time period. It’s hard to find costumes, accessories, and props that all fit what was appropriate [for the 1920s]. Secondly, Gatsby is a lot more well-known than many of the plays we do. Lots of people expect to see a certain thing, especially after the Baz Luhrmann movie. Making ours unique while satisfying the audience is definitely a challenge.

Tell me more about your role as assistant director. What are your favorite parts of the job?

During the day-to-day rehearsal process, I sit with Gorski as we block the show. We discuss a lot on the side about how we want to portray these characters and the attitudes we see from them. I also look at costumes and makeup and make sure it fits Gorski’s vision for the show. My favorite thing I’ve done so far is getting to block a scene; it’s really cool whenever we run through that scene to see something I created now on the stage.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The commitment is a lot more than I’ve had for most shows before. As Assistant Director I’m called every single day for every single rehearsal. I have to be paying attention throughout that entire rehearsal. When ensemble or lead have a break to work on scenes, Gorski and I don’t get that break.

How has working in the arts department and in the show changed you?

Working in arts has given me a really great group of friends that I can trust and as a whole, I feel like I’ve grown a lot emotionally as a person. I’m more confident, I’m more empathetic. This show, because it’s my first chance to be Assistant Director, gave me a leadership position i’ve wanted for a while. It’s a really great experience to work with peers in completely different way.

What advice would you give to any younger kids who are considering doing theater at Green Hope?

I’d say sign up for the classes and join the club. It’s the best introduction you can get to our program. Don’t be afraid to audition — it’s scary to go up on stage, but we’re all here to support you and we truly want everyone to succeed.

Anything else you’d like to share about Gatsby?

The cast and crew of this show is one of the most dedicated I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. There’s a whole new level of dedication to characters and positions. For that reason, I have complete confidence that the show is going to be spectacular.

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Behind the Scenes of The Great Gatsby with Maya Schroder