Littered with chairs, props and a small stage displaying the infamous eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, it’s hard to imagine the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) Multipurpose Room being able to capture the grandiose atmosphere of the 1920s — that is until the lights go down. Then, the time period comes to life in the Dickinson Community Players’ (DCP) staging of “The Great Gatsby”
When a man named Nick Carraway moves next door to a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, he is whisked into the lavish, enigmatic world that Gatsby has created for himself. Even more mysterious than the man named Gatsby is Nick’s cousin, Daisy and her seemingly pervasive, amorous history with Gatsby.
The place of “The Great Gatsby” in the canon of American literature, and the depth of its central themes create unique challenges unlike any other show. Much like the characters themselves, the production of the show has faced more hurdles than meets the eye, such as the task of directing a cast.
“Three of our cast members had mono at one point,” said Erica Faggione, a junior psychology major. “There are a lot of freshmen in the show, so everyone’s still getting used to Binghamton. Casting was difficult for our club, we typically don’t have a lot of people come out, but this show brought over 50 people to the audition, which is a really good turnout. I’m really happy with the cast, I think they’re so talented.”
The story of “The Great Gatsby” presents troubled characters brimming with depth and intensity.
“Doing a play like ‘[The Great] Gatsby,’ which is so complex, I definitely noticed a difference in the way I portrayed my character, it takes a lot of studying and a lot more hard work than I’m used to,”said Will Flaherty, a junior majoring in English, who plays Nick. “It’s so different than what I thought it was going to be and this new experience just opened my eyes to what acting really is.”
Gatsby is the most enigmatic character of the story, as his name is gossiped about long before his entrance into the storyline. Gatsby’s allure is fortified particularly after his entrance, as he speaks in riddles, calling friends “old sport” and disclosing selective information on his past. The character is played by Thomas Krulder, an undeclared freshman, who expressed that he relates to the character in several ways.
“Gatsby is mostly about keeping up with appearances,” Krulder said. “He’s meant to be one of the characters that the audience relates to. Everyone has experienced puppy love, and Gatsby chases after
that feeling through hell and high water in an endless pursuit.”
With all its challenges, the cast that DCP has assembled to tackle “The Great Gatsby” engages the audience, and their hard work and chemistry are evident in their performances.
“They’re just amazing people and they’ve worked so hard to put this on,” Faggione said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better or a more supportive cast.”
The show is will take stage this weekend in the C4 Multipurpose Room with performances on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $3.