Great Gatsby

Jordan Baker, performed by Ashleigh Smith, relaxes during the hot days of summer. One of the reasons the drama team put on the play was because the highly-anticipated new movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, opens in theaters on May 10.

Courtesy Photo

Due to the anticipation of the movie coming out on May 10, the Ironwood Ridge High School drama students took it upon themselves to put on a student-run play of “The Great Gatsby”.

The students performed the play at Ironwood Ridge April 11-12 and had their two last shows on April 20. 

About 30 students were involved in the play whether it was by performing or being a part of the technical team. Senior Evan Anway, the director of the play and president of the drama club, was the one who took the initiative to pull it all together.

“I really wanted to do this at the beginning of the year because “The Great Gatsby” was a really popular movie and our school reads the book,” said Anway. “I thought it was a really good idea and ultimately our fine arts is struggling with funds and this was a way to bring in money.”

Since the play was not part of the drama team’s list of performances to do this year, the drama team had to do everything from putting together a cast, finding costumes, making tickets, scheduling rehearsals and finding a venue.

“This is the first time the drama team has done this,” said Jesse Whealing, a senior performer. “Evan and a couple others were willing to work really hard to put this together. It was a very, very risky thing to do, but it proved to be worth it, which was great.” 

The drama students practiced from January to April for six hours every Friday and Saturday.  For the three weeks leading up to the play, the students practiced everyday after school. Most times they rehearsed their lines at Cañada Del Oro Riverfront Park.

“The biggest challenge was that it was hard to find time that people were willing to commit to doing it,” said Whealing. “We had practice at Riverfront Park and that was a tough experience because some days it was really hot or really windy.”

One of the other big challenges was finding a venue, according to junior Amelia Shipley, the stage manager and technical director for the drama team.

“We wanted a different venue than Ironwood,” said Shipley. “When we couldn’t get one we had to rent out our own auditorium. It cost $1,200 to rent it for the weekend. Thankfully, the parents were able to chip in to pay the initial cost and our principal cut the cost in half, which helped.”

The Ironwood student government body also helped out by selling the drama team’s Great Gatsby tickets at the same time they were selling prom tickets.

“I’m very proud for how they helped us out,” said Anway. “I have an immense amount of pride in the cast. We didn’t get to use set props or a stage except for two days before the show and people had to give up their weekends.”

All the time that the students spent on putting the play together paid off. The drama team made $2,703 off ticket sales, which was put into the drama fund and will help fund performances in the future.

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