DIXON – At only 10 years old, Kathleen Keesey, it seems, has found her passion.
The Madison Elementary School fourth-grader has adapted “The Lightning Thief” – Rick Riordan’s book about Percy Jackson’s quest to find the thief who stole Zeus’ master bolt – into an hour-and-15-minute-long play her class will perform Tuesday.
Her teacher, Kim Bork, 45, was tasked at the beginning of the year find a “passion project” – a project outside of the classroom that students are passionate about.
Her fourth-grade class reads “The Lightning Thief” every year, and “for the last 4 years I have wanted to involve that book with a play, and Kathleen felt like the right person for the job,” Bork said.
“I’m really impressed with Kathleen and how she digested the book and turned it into script for a play,” she said.
“She definitely has a talent and a gift.”
Kathleen’s love of the theater got its start with her involvement with Woodlawn Arts Academy’s rendition of Disney’s “Aristocats” and Dr. Seuss’s “Seussical Jr.”
Why theater? It’s the talking, “which, my family says that I do a lot of,” Kathleen said. She also enjoys “all of the different facial expressions and getting into character.”
She found her groove writing the 40-plus-page script and teaching her classmates about staging, acting and theater vernacular.
“I just picked up a thing or two from Mr. [Brooks] Bullock and Ms. [Faith] Morrison, [theater teachers] from Woodlawn,” Keesey said, making sure to share the credit.
Each of Bork’s 30 students has a part to play, as actors, stage hands or writers behind the scenes, she said.
“Really, it was bigger than just our classroom: Parents, Dixon High School, Woodlawn Arts Academy and Centennial Auditorium all had a helping hand in making this become a reality,” Bork said, Centennial and Dixon High by donating props and sound equipment.
Kathleen’s creative talents go beyond writing. The daughter of Tara and Jon Keesey of Dixon also dances.
The premier of "Lightning Thief Jr." begins at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Elementary School, 618 Division St., in the gym, and will be finished by about 1:45.
Admission is free, but seating is limited.
Call the school at 815-284-7726 for more information.