Montana Rep Theater performs a mediocre Gatsby


Ella Bartlett, Editor in Chief

There is such thing as overacting. Teenage girls overreact when the wrong type of milk is put in their Starbucks, sophomores overreact when getting AP Bio tests back, and my co-editor in chief Will overreacts when I botch up the crossword. But professional actors?

The Montana Rep Theater company came to Stephen’s Auditorium on Thursday, February 12 and performed an ignoble rendition of The Great Gatsby. They are the theater-in-residence for the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, and led by Greg Johnson, artistic director. Their performance in Ames started the part of their national tour outside of Montana.

The On Stage Group, a program for high schoolers from Ames and Gilbert who get free tickets to 7 shows at CY Stevens, was there, along with many AHS English teachers and a couple pre-Valentine’s day dates. The reaction? Not even a standing ovation.

The first turn-off was the sound of Daisy Buchanan’s voice. Played by Kelly Campbell, this character was a good representation of how ditsy girls sound like when they are tipsy. Even though her movements were fluid and dance-like, her voice had a nasal pitch, and whenever she opened her mouth, the audience knew it was going to be loud. The character of Daisy, as written by Fitzgerald, is supposed to be more subtle.

Nick Carraway was played by Mason Wagner, a lanky, handsome young man who looked like the star of a mystery show. His voice was smooth, but Nick had no character development, and I felt like he needed to do a couple Harlem Shakes because he stood so stiffly.

However, the audience never got lost in the story, and even if you hadn’t read it beforehand, you could still get the gist of what Fitzgerald was trying to say. Included were all the scenes and all the lovely quotes, but spoken in a way that conveyed no feeling to the audience. Stephen’s Auditorium seemed to golf clap at the end.

Perhaps Ames High could get a couple of students together and do a better job.