Striking the Stage

Cadence Rulo

More stories from Cadence Rulo

Building the Bond
March 16, 2023

Junior Rebecca Turner playing Clarisse surrounded by cast on opening night. They stand holding staffs to battle Annabeth, played by Abby Money, and her team.

As senior Aubrey Hunter walks around Francis Howell Central her head is filled with sign up posters for the spring musical ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.’ After being in choir her whole life, she felt she belonged on the stage in another way. Instead of wondering what could have been, she decides to put her name on that paper and give her dream a chance to be a reality. 

I’ve always wanted to try acting to go along with the singing I’ve been doing my whole life,” Hunter said. “I’m nervous [to act] in front of an audience. I’ve never done that before, I’ve been singing in front of audiences my whole life but acting is a completely different thing…I want to do it well and have the audience understand it.”

Being new to the rehearsal process can cause a lot of stress, but also helps build excitement.

“The rehearsal process has been crazy. Being thrown together with random people I’ve never met was definitely interesting but overall amazing,” Hunter said. “It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and it’s also been really cool to put work into something like this, it draws my focus to something else other than the crazy things I’ve got going on outside of it all.”

This year has brought several new members to theater. Senior Abigail Money began her theater journey at the beginning of the school year and has been cast in leading roles since.

“I just started this school year because I was gonna play volleyball. That didn’t work out so I started doing theater and it was such a blessing because I love it so much more,” Money said. “I am excited for everyone’s reaction…I feel like people go into it thinking it’s just a high school musical. Like it’s really not that big of a deal, but it’s a big production like it’s costing us thousands and thousands of dollars to produce. We’ve been rehearsing every single day. It’s a big show, so it’s going to wow a lot of people. I’m excited for that.”

As cast members deal with the rehearsal process, theater director Mrs. Kimberley Gueydan-Harrison found trying to help Camp Halfblood come to life anything but easy.

This show is highly technical and has some tricks that you have never seen on FHC’s stage before… We started our technical meetings right after Christmas.  This was even before we cast the show,” Harrison said. “We hired a professional fight choreographer who is certified in stage sword and staff fighting (Erik Kuhn of Shakespeare in the Park).  We also enlisted the help of student dance choreographer Kaylee Wright.  She brought an amazing sense of movement to the show.  So this truly was a group effort.  Everyone had to work very hard to pull this show together.”

As showtime comes to an end for seniors, Gueydan-Harrison would like to let people know what a blessing this year has been for her.

This is perhaps the best cast, crew and parent group I have ever worked with in my 40+ years of theater,” Harrison said. “Everyone has been all in from day one and they have worked so hard [to bring]  an incredible show. There is no way ‘The Lightning Thief’ would have happened without everyone involved. I call this group my ‘perfect storm’. The perfect storm of great theater!”

FHC Spotlight Players stand on stage during the opening night performance. The cast stands as statues to help portray the story. Photo by Kyly Jacobs. (Kyly Jacobs)