Storytelling – some would argue is the most important aspect of theatre. Storytelling anchors us in our childhood. Bedtime stories are one of my favorite memories, and I still to this day have trouble putting down a good book.
Just like a good book does, as actors our main job is to take the audience on a journey. On Tuesday we did our first run through of Act 1! The characters are coming to life, and it is so exciting. This show’s storytelling is especially unique to work on because many audience members are familiar with the characters.
Our cast has talked about our love for reading as kids and how that has played into us being storytellers on this stage. For me it was the Percy Jackson series. Some other obsessions from the cast included Harry Potter, John Green Books, and the Maze Runner. Regardless of the series, we all know the feeling of wanting to dive into the storybook, and now we get to do that!
Henry Bedoe, who plays Percy Jackson, hadn’t read the series as a kid, but he says that he went to the source material as soon as he was cast. “Reading The Lighting Thief has been a huge help in creating my characterization of Percy—the book is written from his perspective, so his emotions and intentions are abundantly clear throughout. As a narrator, Percy has such a specific personality, which makes the book an incredible aid to an actor. His sarcasm and strong sense of justice provide a complex and fully realized worldview that I have had the privilege of stepping into.” It is easy to see how Henry’s reading of the book has inspired every choice and action he makes. He IS the Percy Jackson we know and love.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was praised by The New York Times, the School Library Journal, and millions of children across the country. With its debut in 2005 it became a best-selling novel and a successful series. When asked about the various awards, Rick Riordan said, “The ultimate compliment for a children’s writer is when the kids like it.” I think our cast is going into this production with a similar mindset. Looking at how this story inspired us as kids and passing that on to the future generation. We understand and accept the high expectations. This story is treasured by many, and the characters are complex and well crafted- which is why many of our cast members have returned to the source material.
Katie Yeomans (Clarisse) talks about her love for all fantasy and mythological books as a kid and how memorable Percy Jackson was for her. She states after reading the book, “Riordan created such a rich world of characters and places, which has been so cool to bring to life on the NCT stage!” Katie’s spunky betrayal of the daughter of Ares is heavily inspired by her childhood interpretation of the character.
Other company members have had a similar experience of recreating those characters they knew so dearly. Sierra Fermin, Annabeth, says, “I read the Percy Jackson series when I was in middle school, so it has been really fun getting to revisit the story and actually play one of my favorite characters.” She also mentions that being able to go back to the first book now has helped her “get into the mindset of Annabeth.”
We are all honored to be telling this story and cannot wait to experience it with you in October. I encourage you to pick up the book and read it along with our cast. Perhaps a family reading night? Or grab a snuggly blanket on a fall day and do a couch read! Then get excited to watch it all unfold before your eyes.
Cast Quotes on the Book
“I started reading the books after I was cast in the show and I fell in love with the humor and charming characters. Reading The Lighting Thief has been a huge help in creating my characterization of Percy—the book is written from his perspective, so his emotions and intentions are abundantly clear throughout. As a narrator, Percy has such a specific personality, which makes the book an incredible aid to an actor. His sarcasm and strong sense of justice provide a complex and fully realized worldview that I have had the privilege of stepping into.” – Henry Bedoe (Percy)
“I read the Percy Jackson series when I was in middle school, so it had been really fun getting to revisit the story and actually play one of my favorite characters. re-reading the first book has helped me get into the mindset of Annabeth and I’m so excited to be able to share our version of the camp half-blood!” – Sierra Fermin (Annabeth)
“I never read the lightning thief series as a kid, but anything by John Green I was definitely obsessed with!” – Chris Sandoval (Grover)
“Reading Percy Jackson as a kid was great because I have always been obsessed with mythology and the gods. So it gave me an outlet to explore that.” – Christian Sandelin (Chiron, Poseidon, Hades)
“As a kid who loved reading fantasy/mythological books, Percy Jackson was a memorable read for me. Rick Riordan created such a rich world of characters and places, which has been so cool to bring to life on the NCT stage!” – Katie Yeomans (Clarisse & Mrs. Dodds)
“I remember reading the Percy Jackson books and being transported into their world immediately. Something about those books just made them addictive, impossible to put down.” – Anna Dudley (Ensemble)
“I didn’t really read the Percy Jackson series as a kid, butttttt I LOVED the maze runner series!! I would count down the days until each new book or movie came out” – Chelsea Pena (Ensemble)