THE NEVERENDING STORY: before opening night

3:20 PM
By young performer Steven Long who plays Bastian in the Imagination Cast

When I was accepted for a callback audition for THE NEVERENDING STORY, I had never heard of it. I had never read the book or seen the 1984 movie. But now that I have become a part of the experience and learned the story, I am reminded of why I love First Stage Children’s Theater so much—it is educational, it prepares you for future acting roles, and it is the most fun I have ever had.

It is so inspiring to be among so many intelligent and talented actors. As Bastian, it’s extremely difficult for me to keep my eyes on the pages of the book when there is a scene playing out onstage. The whole show is so beautifully-designed, and it is so visually stimulating that it’s hard to take your eyes off of the set. I remember the first day of rehearsal when I came into the room and saw the set for the first time. It was a plywood draft, and I still found it incredible. Then, when tech week began, I finally got to see the set in its full glory, and I was stunned. The main piece of the set was draped in carefully-decorated canvas, and all the props were lit perfectly. It is amazing to watch this play come to life.

Jeff Frank, our director, has put an unbelievable amount of time and effort into making this the best show it can possibly be, and he pushed me as an actor so far that I found emotions I can portray that I never even knew existed. Jeff makes every rehearsal fun while still keeping us in check and focused on the task at hand. Without Jeff, our production of THE NEVERENDING STORY could not be half as fantastic as it is now.

There are also the costume and prop designers to acknowledge. They have worked so hard to make this show come alive through vivid clothes and fabrics and puppets and they have achieved this and much more. The puppets are brilliant and lifelike, so much so that I, even having read the script a million times and heard every line repeated over and over, still get caught up in the moment when I see the stunning job that these people have done.

This is my first main stage production at First Stage Theater Academy, and I feel so lucky to have been allowed to spend these few months with such talented actors and crew. I thank all of you so much, and I cannot wait for opening night.

Photo by John Deighton Hemingway (left to right) During tech week Steven Long as Bastian reading The Neverending Story in the attic and Joe Foust as Cairon with Ryan Tutton as Atreyu and Tim Linn as Artax in the land of Fantastica.

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