Overcoming obstacles to the American Dream

To be honest, I’ve been debating on whether to write this or not for a few days. There is a part of me that says, “Don’t share this because we don’t want people to know everything that went wrong.”

But, the fact is that the story of MCT’s The Great Gatsby is one of resilience, determination and what it means to be a small-town community theatre. So, let me start by saying that our production of The Great Gatsby has faced nearly every obstacle that could exist.

We lost a cast member due to conflicts right after casting the show, and spent nearly two of our seven-week rehearsal schedule without a full cast. We lost our technical support throughout the run, forcing us to strip things down to its simplest form in many aspects to keep the process moving forward. We had a total of two rehearsals with the entire cast due to various bugs and illnesses running around. Then, illness hit hard right at the end, causing us to cancel our production and work to reschedule the show that so many people had spent hours putting their heart into. Finally, once we rescheduled, we lost two of our cast members due to conflicts they had made, thinking the show would have been over by that point.

We were hit hard, week after week. But, our cast and production team was never truly shaken.

We found an amazing cast member in week three, called in an incredible lighting designer, brought in a long-time member who built our set in just days and rallied to fill the spots left in our cast to perform the show next weekend.

And through it all, I never once felt overwhelmed or stressed. And for those that know me, know that is a feat in itself.

My secret? I trusted everyone around me to help make the best decisions, and we communicated regularly with the cast, who adapted at every turn with grace.

I had a solid production team with years of experience both in and out of theatre that was used to plot ways through each situation. They understood my vision for the show, and we worked in tandem to make the hard calls that would keep that vision alive, but adapt it for the situations we found ourselves in.

My cast remained flexible, determined to bring this show to life, no matter the obstacles. I could tell all of them love this show dearly, and were just as invested in keeping the magic of Gatsby alive, no matter what it took.

And, as I reflect on all of this in the middle of the storm, I realized that’s what creates the community in Marshfield Community Theatre.

We could have canceled the show during any of these struggles. I could have been a broken down mess trying to shoulder these difficult decisions myself. We could have just called it quits and moved on.

But, we fought for this show.

We fought, not just me. Every single person wanted this show to happen. Even when faced with hard decisions and having to say goodbye to many who put in so much work, everyone accepted them, disappointedly, but knew it was an impossible situation. I have never felt a group rally around each other so much, and I am forever grateful.

To those we had to say goodbye to, I am sorry that you were put in this situation. My heart broke thinking of the time, energy, and joy you brought to this show. As a director, I never thought I’d have to make these kinds of decisions, but I hope you know that I value you all and wish nothing but the best for you.

And to those who are on the fence about coming, know that this will be an incredible show. Not just because of the talent both on and off stage. But, also because everyone will put everything they have into making this show special after overcoming all the obstacles thrown at them.

Support the arts. Keep the community alive in Marshfield Community Theatre. Make a difference and show our cast and crew the love and support I know you are all capable of showing and come see The Great Gatsby next weekend.

-Kelby Lorenz

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