An adaptation from Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief
By Mary G. Milligan
Approximately 5 minutes.
Staging: The narrators stand behind the characters, preferably on risers.
Narrator 1 – Mr. Brunner
Narrator 2 – Percy Jackson
Narrator 3 – Nancy Bobofit
Narrator 4 – Mrs. Dodds
Narrator 5 – Grover
NARRATOR 1: This scene from Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief is taken from Chapter 1, “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher.” Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.
PERCY JACKSON: My name is Percy Jackson. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that. I could start at any point in my short miserable life to prove it, but things really started going bad last May, when our sixth-grade class took a field trip to Manhattan.
NARRATOR 2: Percy’s class is heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at the ancient Greek and Roman collection. There are two teachers on the field trip. Mr. Brunner, the Latin teacher, is leading the trip. He is a middle-aged man in a motorized wheelchair with thinning hair, a scruffy beard and an awesome collection of Roman armor and weapons.
PERCY JACKSON: Mr. Brunner expects me to be as good as everybody else, despite the fact that I have dyslexia and attention deficit disorder and I have never made above a C- in my life. No – he doesn’t expect me to be as good; he expects me to be better.
NARRATOR 3: The other teacher chaperone is Mrs. Dodds. She is a little math teacher from Georgia who always wears a black leather jacket, even though she is fifty years old. Mrs. Dodds came to Yancy halfway through the school year, when the last math teacher had a nervous breakdown.
PERCY JACKSON: From her first day, Mrs. Dodds would point her crooked finger at me and say –
MRS. DODDS: Now, honey
PERCY JACKSON: – real sweet, and I knew I was going to get after-school detention for a month.
NARRATOR 4: Among the twenty-eight students on the field trip are Nancy Bobofit, a freckly, redheaded bully and Percy Jackson’s best friend, Grover Underwood, a scrawny kid with acne and the start of a wispy beard on his chin.
NARRATOR 5: The class is gathered on the front steps of the museum eating lunch when Nancy Bobofit dumps her half-eaten lunch in Grover’s lap.
NANCY BOBOFIT: Oops
PERCY JACKSON: I don’t remember touching her, but the next thing I know, Nancy is sitting on her butt in the fountain, screaming
NANCY BOBOFIT: Percy pushed me!
NARRATOR 1: Mrs. Dodds materializes next to them.
NARRATOR 2: Some of the kids are whispering
NARRATOR 3: Did you see —
NARRATOR 4: —the water—
NARRATOR 5: —like it grabbed her—
PERCY JACKSON: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
NARRATOR 1: As soon as Mrs. Dodds is sure Nancy is okay, Mrs. Dodds turns on Percy.
MRS. DODDS: Now, honey—
PERCY JACKSON: I know. A month erasing workbooks.
MRS. DODDS: Come with me.
GROVER: Wait! It was me. I pushed her.
MRS. DODDS: I don’t think so, Mr. Underwood.
MRS. DODDS: You –will—stay—here.
PERCY JACKSON: It’s okay, man. Thanks for trying.
MRS. DODDS: Honey, now!
NARRATOR 2: Percy follows her deeper into the museum. When he finally catches up to her, they are back in the Greek and Roman section.
NARRATOR 3: Except for them, the gallery is empty.
MRS. DODDS: You’ve been giving us problems, honey.
PERCY JACKSON: Yes, ma’am.
MRS. DODDS: Did you really think you would get away with it?
PERCY JACKSON: I’ll try harder, ma’am.
NARRATOR 2 & 3: Boom! Thunder shakes the building.
MRS. DODDS: We are not fools, Percy Jackson. It was only a matter of time before we found you out. Confess, and you will suffer less pain. Well?
PERCY JACKSON: Ma’am, I don’t…
MRS. DODDS: Your time is up!
NARRATOR 4: Then the weirdest thing happens. Her eyes begin to glow like barbecue coals. Her fingers stretch, turning into talons. Her jacket melts into large, leathery wings. She isn’t human. She is a shriveled hag with bat wings and claws and a mouth full of yellow fangs.
NARRATOR 5: Then things get even stranger. Mr. Brunner, who’d been out in front of the museum a minute before, wheels his chair into the doorway of the gallery, holding a pen in his hand. Tossing it to Percy he shouts –
MR. BRUNNER: What ho, Percy!
NARRATOR 1: Mrs. Dodds lunges at Percy.
NARRATOR 2: Percy snatches the ballpoint pen out of the air, but when it hits his hand, it isn’t a pen anymore. It is a sword—Mr. Brunner’s bronze sword, which he always uses on tournament day.
NARRATOR 3: Mrs. Dodds spins toward Percy snarling –
MRS. DODDS: Die, Honey!
NARRATOR 4: She flies straight at Percy. He swings the sword.
NARRATOR 5: The metal blade hits her shoulder and passes clean through her body as if she is made of water. Hisss!
NARRATOR 1: Mrs. Dodds is a sand castle in a power fan She explodes into yellow powder, vaporizing on the spot, leaving nothing but the smell of sulfur and a dying screech and a chill of evil in the air.
PERCY JACKSON: I am alone. There is a ballpoint pen in my hand. Mr. Brunner isn’t there. Nobody is there but me. My hands are still trembling. Had I imagined the whole thing? I go back outside. Grover is sitting by the fountain with Nancy Bobofit, still soaked from her swim in the fountain.
NANCY BOBOFIT: I hope Mrs. Kerr whipped your butt.
PERCY JACKSON: Who?
NANCY BOBOFIT: Our teacher. Duh!
PERCY JACKSON: We have no teacher named Mrs. Kerr. What are you talking about? Grover, where is Mrs. Dodds?
PERCY JACKSON: Not funny, man. This is serious.
NARRATOR 2 & 3: Boom! Thunder booms overhead.
MR. BRUNNER: Mr. Jackson, that would be my pen. Please bring your own writing utensil in the future.
PERCY JACKSON: Sir, where’s Mrs. Dodds?
MR. BRUNNER: Who?
PERCY JACKSON: The other chaperone. Mrs. Dodds. The pre-algebra teacher.
MR. BRUNNER: Percy, there is no Mrs. Dodds on this trip. As far as I know, there has never been a Mrs. Dodds at Yancy Academy. Are you feeling all right?”
Used by Permission of Hyperion.