The Great Gatsby blog

On the 6th March 2014, members and non-members of SUP met for a play reading of The Great Gatsby. On the 17th June it will be opening night at the Nuffield Theatre. This blog will let you follow the journey from page to stage, from casting, rehearsals, set design, prop gathering, costume fittings the lot and hopefully we will see you in the theatre in June, enjoy!

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24 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby blog

  1. This is such an exciting production for me – firstly, I have loved the story of Great Gatsby since I studied it for A Levels (probably not long after it was original published!!). I think probably, if I could travel back in time this is the era I would head to – the zest for life following on from the end of the First World War, the decadence, the parties, and oh! the dresses! Secondly, I was the one who found this play when trawling the web two years ago, loved it and brought it to the Play reading committee as “something we have to do”. Thirdly, I get to produce it so have real involvement in how the play will develop and be portrayed (how many bust ups are on the way with the director, I don’t know, already there have been a fair few “No Malcolm, what we should do is….”, resulting in quite a lot of long-suffering sighing!). Next, we are welcoming a guest director to the company for this show, who also just happens to be a work colleague (you see why the sparks might fly?! At least we’re not married as well, although someone did make that assumption recently!) And finally, its the show that marks our 50th Anniversary, what better way to celebrate than at one of Gatsby’s fabulous parties?!
    The Auditions are tomorrow and Thursday, and based on the read through the other week, I cant wait! Audition sheet is done ready, the production plan is starting to take shape and my to- do list is growing hourly! Next thing on the list is to confirm crew and arrange a first production meeting.
    “Tomorrow is going to be another fine day”.

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  2. Marketing plan has just been finalised and sent to all concerned so hopefully we know what we are all doing. Ahead of us lies the creation of posters, flyers, adverts, blogs, TV interviews, Radio jingles, Facebook pages, Twitter competitions, mass leaflet distributions, photo’s, glitz and glamour, flappers and tuxedos…..

    With the recent film, everyone knows the ‘Gatsby’ name so we are starting in a good position, We already have tickets sold and we haven’t even auditioned a cast yet, funny how that works.

    I will keep you posted and update you on our progress. Keep an eye and ear out for details of the show and if they reach you, that will be have been the marketing team working away.

    Some plays are harder to market that others, but Gatsby is going to be a delight, there is a real buzz building!

    We are currently seeking volunteer leaflet distributors from across the city, to help us in May, If you have a few hours to spare and would like to get involved, contact me on webmaster@southamptonuniversityplayers.org.uk.

    Ticket booking details (I wouldn’t be doing my job , if I didn’t mention….

    http://www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk , box office (023) 80671771
    Tickets £12, £10 concessions.
    2 for 1 evening on Tuesday 17th June 2014,
    Curtain up £7.30pm
    Follow us on @supamdram

    Speak soon!

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  3. My first contribution to this blog, I am so excited to be a part of The Great Gatsby and to be working with SUP.
    The read-through was great with lots of talented actors coming together and the first round of auditions produced some fantastic professional portayals of some of the characters.
    I am really looking forward to the second round of auditions tomorrow and putting my cast in place. But Dear oh Dear Daisy, where are you? Come on girls who wouldn’t want to be romanced by The Great Gatsby?

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  4. Some Directors love auditions, some just put up with them.
    I always have mixed feelings, I love seeing new and talented people bringing forward their own vision of the character, I love the excitement and the buzz that always surrounds auditions but, at the same time I know that whilst some will be overjoyed at getting a part others will be disappointed. The standard of auditions was so high that I could have cast many of the parts two or three times.
    Now that we have a great cast in place we can concentrate on lots of hard work and loads of fun as together we produce an amazing piece of theatre to celebrate 50 years of SUP

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  5. I am absolutely delighted at having been chosen to play the character of Jay Gatsby. When I heard my name read out, I was shocked initially, but also very, very happy. One of the first things I did upon leaving the building was call my mum! Having only recently gotten back into acting just prior to turning 21, I was extremely fortunate to land the role of Albert Dussel in The Diary of Anne Frank last September, which I can comfortably say was one of the absolute highlights of my time at university – from the rehearsal process to performing it in the Nuffield, it was amazing.

    I’m very much looking forward to bringing this character to life; his insecurity, his material obsession, his flaws, but also his warmth, humour, panache and ability to command a room. I’ve already started reading the novel again (having done it for English IB about 3/4 years ago!) and intend to watch the Baz Luhrmann version during the Easter break. I am also very grateful to Malcolm, Jane and the rest of SUP for letting me end my university career on a very high note indeed. I cannot wait for rehearsals to start on Tuesday!

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  6. Well, I was told by our marketing guru that the auditions process was one of the highlights of a show, so I was very keen to be so actively involved this time. And I did enjoy it – seeing some amazing people surprise me with the depth of their performances. But then came the difficult bit – having to say no to so much talent to get the balance and the best performances for the show. I can’t say in all honestly that it was as much fun.
    But we have a fantastic cast, including our wonderful band of chorus who will create the decadent cavalier ambiance of gatsby’s a parties. I am so excited and am bursting with ideas which, so far Malcolm has not dismissed completely out of hand. How do we create a luxury swimming pool on the Nuffield stage? How can we incorporate the all seeing eyes of TJ Eckburg, the green light, and the opulence of Gatsby’s parties, all on a budget which is not quite as big as Bas Luhrmann’s!

    So I have a question for you all – what does the American Dream mean to you?

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  7. Paul Cresser (playing Nick Carraway)

    I am delighted to have been cast in the role of Nick Carraway for this production and am looking forward to starting the journey from page to stage! Well, that is to say, my part in that journey which no doubt started a long time ago in the director’s mind and in the behind the scenes work carried out by the committee which is needed to get a play put on at the Nuffield – a process that I know can start well over a year before the production is actually on.
    Now start all the trials and tribulations of the rehearsal period – following on from the auditions (a process which I invariably come away from feeling that I have made a complete fool of myself), to the offer of the part (obviously I did something right – maybe I fit the costume?), the oddly exciting activity of highlighting my lines, then the daunting realisation that I need to learn them all pretty quickly! There is a lot of work and a lot of fun ahead and my first step is to go back to the original text – having never read the novel (I know – there are some shocking gaps in my reading) my only experience of Gatsby prior to this was the recent Baz Luhrmann film, so I think it is important to see the author’s actual words before embarking on building the character in the hope that I will do him justice. So the book is downloaded and here I go…..

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  8. First week of rehearsals and already the great cast are giving 100%, It looks like we are in for a fun three months and a fab show. The Charleston warm up’s at the start of each rehearsal is helping us all get into the mood of 1922

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  9. Today has been such a good day! Firstly, we have a costumes team! Which, with 21 cast and approximately 40 costumes to source, is great news, and will mean I hopefully will sleep a bit better! We had our first production meeting this evening, which involved a lot of Malcolm and I saying things that started “what we’d really like is…” And mike, the technical director saying ” we can do that” or ” I’ve got some great ideas about that”, the same from props, and all in all a lot of grinning from Malcolm and me! Then, as if that wasn’t enough, a great rehearsal to follow – which involved me lying on the floor under Kevin’s coat a lot, and giggling at certain Irish/Jewish accents…. We have a possible choreographer, the poster is almost completed, and all I need to now is apologise to the marketing manager for doubting her ability to get the perfect setting for publicity photos. There are no rehearsals next week so the cast can learn their lines, and I can tie up a few loose ends ready for the next phase of the production! Happy Easter.

    And (for Malcolm) so we beat on,boats against the past, Bourne back ceaselessly into the past.

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  10. Back from the Easter break and marketing must now go up a gear. Flyers and posters are off to the printers and will shortly cover the City and surrounding areas. Keep your eyes open.

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  11. It has been an exciting week in the journey to bring the glitz and glamour of Gatsby’s parties to the Nuffied stage! Lines are falling into place, characters are forming and even my second left foot has started to become a right one! Yes, books are down, dances are being learnt and for an extra piece of excitement, several members of the cast have been photographed and filmed for the publicity photos and video trailers being made. This culminated in a shoot deep within the New Forest today alongside a genuine vintage yellow Rolls Royce! Watch out for the photos and trailers which will be popping up very soon!

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  12. A week off for Easter when the university was closed, and we’ve come back engines blazing! Including the lovely purr of the vintage Rolls Royce some of the cast were photographed with yesterday evening by the side of a pond (which makes it sound far less beautiful than it was) in the New Forest. I was glad as the evening chill set in that I wasn’t the one standing still in a thin floaty dress, but the results were lovely. In other news, we have a choreographer, who didn’t run when he saw the number of left feet we all have, and a fabulous costumes team hunting for, among other things a 1920s New York police officers costume, and a 1920s mens bathing suit! But my favourite line from the week has been the response from one of our wonderful technical directors when I asked all the various departments that help create the show fro an update: “basically everything’s fine Jane!”

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  13. Lines all learnt (well nearly), parties all choreographed, nearly as many right feet as left ones now, the production team are putting together the set, the props and the costumes, headshots done. We have a terrific show which is very nearly ready for the theatre.
    The whole team at SUP have worked very hard and the really deserve good audiences so now is the time to start booking those tickets, it is going to be great, don’t miss it.

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  14. Goodness its been a while since the last update, and that’s because of all the hard work which has been going on. Last rehearsal before we get into the theatre tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in a bigger space, and also with an audience. Costumes look fab, and really create the atmosphere, and those dancing vibes are getting stronger and stronger – I even have an 8 year old at home who can Charleston now pretty well. Music and sound are coming together, we have champagne saucers and fresh flowers and a pink cake on order. Set design looks amazing, but what I am conscious of is that there’s not much from our amazing cast on here – lets see if we can change that in the next few hours……….hands up who’s excited??

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  15. Getting very excited about the show next week!
    So pleased that Tuesday has sold out and to be part of this production. I’ve enjoyed my first show with SUP and hope for many more.
    We hope you enjoy reading the blog and make sure you buy tickets!

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  16. Getting really excited now as I approach the last rehearsal before the we get in to the theatre. Not really looking forward to Sunday, the get in, the technical etc but can’t wait for Tuesday.
    The cast have all worked hard, the costumes look amazing and for me the most fun bit will be seeing the ‘full house’ board outside the theatre on Tuesday. Please come along so that we can put that board out more than once.

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  17. “Everything is Fine”
    The production team is meeting for the final time before the get in at the Nuffield, and everything is fine – the costumes are being sewn, the props are being bought, the set is being built, the lights are being designed, and the music is being recorded. Even the cast are almost ready with the right lines, the right moves and even the right accents! We wait for opening night….

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  18. Last rehearsal, I’m trying to type as quietly as possible as everyone is silent watching the show (when they’re not on stage that is). I should probably say at this point this isn’t Adam, I’ve just hijacked his log in – It’s Imogen, I’m playing Myrtle Wilson. This is my first SUP performance and its been a great experience so far and next week will be great. Everyone has worked really hard – with the right amount of fun and laughter mixed in. Hope to see everyone there for a crazy 1920’s party. Nobody throws them like Gatsby. 🙂

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  19. dancing flappers, substitute mechanics, and a pool like stage. These are all some of the delights of this particular rehearsal, but also some of the highlights throughout. So I may not be the nicest of characters, but you know what they say, everyone loves a villain and I am truly having a blast. looking forward to doing this for real this time next week. And now its time for another alcohol induces 20’s party….. Carl Browning (Tom Buchannan)

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  20. Last rehearsal before Tech! And I expect our audience will be suitably mind blown by our incredible Charlestoning, we loved it so much that we’re doing it four times throughout the show! And of course this show could not possibly be complete without my heartfelt and shatteringly emotional performance as a random Street Cop! Who’s deep emotional turmoil and labyrinthine psyche play out in the powerful scene in which he gruffly explains a car crash to a character who is actually important the plot… Looking forward to seeing everyone there! (Cop/barman)

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  21. A Charlestoning Butler!! Shows how much fun Gatsby’s parties are, and how much fun we had re-creating such a vibrant and decadent atmosphere, and now just a few days before performance week, its all so very exciting. Very much looking forward to it and hoping the audience will find it just as much fun, I am sure they will!!!! (Butler/party goer)

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  22. Well, here we are on the verge of entering the theatre! What a journey it has been… everyone has worked very hard to bring the show to life and now we are almost ready to unveil our efforts to the public, all we need now is that final injection of energy which comes from actually being on the stage and having an audience. So buckle down for a tale of love, loss, greed, revenge, hope and despair with a healthy dash of 1920’s glamour, music and dancing!

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  23. Tonight is the last night of Gatsby and I want to say a big thankyou to all that have made it so much fun. The great cast who have brought the show to life, the great techies that have taken my impossible vision and made it a reality, the committee of SUP for believing in my vision and of course to Jane who has been the greatest support ever. Will really miss all you guys.
    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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