Optimism and the American Dream: The Great Gatsby Play


Amelia Capron

Harper Treschuk

On December 6 and 7, the FLHS Drama Club will be performing The Great Gatsby, an exciting production that brings the Jazz Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless novel about optimism, hope and the American Dream to life.

The Great Gatsby, both in the novel and play format, offers a valuable perspective on the hardships and triumphs of discovering oneself in the world. It chronicles the characters of newly-rich Jay Gatsby, who ardently reaches for Daisy Buchanan, the lost love of his youth, and Nick Carraway, a Midwestern businessman trying to acclimate to the grandeur and tension of fashionable New York society.

Although The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, its themes about love, wealth, and opportunity are relevant in the modern world. As Director Christy McIntosh Newsom states, “I think that students can relate to our narrator, Nick Carraway, as he tries to find his place in the world and struggles with his expectations of humanity.”

As a niche of artistic and creative students at FLHS, the Drama Club functions as a way for students of similar interests and values to find their place in the school community. Senior Amelia Capron, the leader of the Costume Crew, says, “Drama Club is really a second family to me.” The production benefits from the enthusiasm and imagination of cast and crew members alike. A large ensemble, musical numbers, and several dance sequences establish the energy of the Roaring Twenties. Ornate costumes and sets provide a backdrop to the glittering extravagance and party atmosphere of the Jazz Age.

The production also draws from the diversity of the larger school community by integrating the talents of the English and Music Department. Director Christy McIntosh Newsom is incorporating live music into the performance and working to bring a preview of the show to English classes who have recently read The Great Gatsby. Sophomore student Jessica Stekloff, who is a member of the ensemble, notes that the themes of the play bring a new perspective to the novel. “[T]he visualization and classmates acting in it make it more meaningful,” she says.

As a production that recreates the romanticism of a lost era yet also speaks to the divisions in today’s society, The Great Gatsby highlights the dynamism of the American Dream: the individual’s quest to find meaning and significance in the world. Sophomore Jessica Stekloff adds, “the theme of the American Dream is something that’s still very much real today and constantly changing.” As Jay Gatsby reaches for what is unattainable, and Nick Carraway, the passive onlooker to the extravagance of Long Island, struggles to find his place in society, The Great Gatsby speaks to the constant striving toward something greater–be it love, fortune, or ideals–that ultimately brings individuals together.

On December 6 and 7, experience the exhilaration of the Jazz Age, exciting musical additions, and the optimism and hope of Fitzgerald’s novel brought to you by a tight-knit community of Ludlowe students who are living out their own artistic passions and dreams.