Students take Gatsby’s ‘emotional journey’

CCPA brings dance and decadence of 1920s to Oak Bay

Megan Greenwood as Daisy and Dane Smit as Nick in the Canadian College of Performing Arts’ production of The Great Gatsby

Alexandra Willett is accustomed to portraying a witch or bold character.

“I’m not usually cast as the pretty lead,” says the Canadian College of Performing Arts student. Now with the school’s third-year studio ensemble Company C, she’s one of two cast as the stunning Daisy Buchanan in their upcoming production of The Great Gatsby.

During the show’s run Dec. 3 to 6, audiences can take in one of two lead ladies – Willet or Megan Greenwood – countered with one of two Nicks –Dane Smit or Gavin Forbes.

The double casting offers an opportunity for each actor to see their scenes performed by a counterpart. “It’s what’s between the lines, what’s not said,” Willett says of the show.

“I watched the other day … and I had shivers up my arm by the second act. It’s an emotional journey.”

Aside from the emotion, there’s a “nice return to the ‘20s and plenty of dancing,” Willett says.

For Gavin Forbes it’s his character’s staid emotions that stand out.

“Nick has an unwavering self integrity. It just about never falters. He’s a self-disciplined, kind, gentle person,” Forbes says.

“I find it more of a challenge than the heavy emotion, it’s much more subtle.”

His favourite thing about this adaptation, Forbes says, is how faithful the performance is to the “gorgeous masterpiece” penned by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.

“It takes passages straight from the book.”

In the novel, Jay Gatsby seeks to live happily with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. The dramatic story of dreams and drama is told through Nick Carraway, a newcomer to the town of West Egg.

“Gatsby is one of my favourite novels. It’s a lush and provocative depiction of the roaring ‘20s, the jazz age, and one man’s pursuit of the love of his life makes for great theatre,” said director Ron Jenkins, who joins Company C for the first time, to tell “one of the greatest love stories of all time.”

“People still love the ‘20s – the flapper dresses, the dances, the haircuts. It was a time where people enjoyed themselves in order to forget the war and all of its repercussions. It was a time to make money and forget,” he says.

The show runs Dec. 3 to 6 in the performance hall at 1701 Elgin Rd.

Tickets are available online at ccpacanada.com or at the box office at 250-595-9970.

 

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