‘She Kills Monsters’ kills it with fantastical sets, fighting

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The theatre department last week put on its second performance run of the semester, Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters.”

The show, partially set in the fantasy world of New Landia, brought fantastical sets and epic action to the stage of the Malcolm Field Theatre.

The show played from Nov. 15 until Nov. 19 and was directed by associate professor of theatre David Rzeszutek.

The plot of “She Kills Monsters” is not the most conventional, yet its alluring combination of both the real and fantasy worlds was one that the theatre department was looking forward to putting on.

The story follows Agnes Evans as she struggles with the loss of her kid 16-year-old sister, Tilly. Tilly was a complicated, secretive individual who lived out her fantasies through the popular role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons.”

“Agnes is one of the most average characters in the script,” said communication and theatre double major Amber Hadley, who played Agnes. “She’s a very likable character, and people want her to succeed and grow as a person.”

As this was her first performance in years, Hadley was nervous going into the show, but she ultimately came out of it invigorated.

“It was a little scary, but wonderfully interesting to get to meet and work with new individuals,” Hadley said. “Everyone in the cast would show up early, and we would all hang out and get to know one another.”

Due to the nature of the show, the cast of “She Kills Monsters” was put through a lengthy and time-consuming training process in order to be more comfortable during fight choreography.

“At first, (the training) was really overwhelming,” sophomore theatre and psychology double major Jessica Hurley said. “We had a huge day where we learned everything, and that kind of weighed down in your mind. But as you took it slower, and you practiced it, it just became less work and so much more fun.”

Hurley, who performed as Kaliope/Kelly in the show, was one of several cast members forced to become a little more comfortable with steel-on-steel action.

“The students that have been involved … have been putting forth a great effort, taking full ownership of the show,” Rzeszutek said. “As (the performances have) gone on, it definitely shows.”

“She Kills Monsters” is a very inclusionary show when it comes to its plethora of character types for audiences to latch onto or sympathize with. A big notion of the play itself is how these types of lame fantasy games can be a healthy avenue of releasing emotions and finding an identity for those who do not necessarily have an obvious place within their lives.

Examples of this include some characters exhibiting closeted homosexuality and Hurley’s Katie, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, which was challenging yet rewarding for Hurley.

“It’s been a crazy, wild ride learning about (Cerebral Palsy) and playing it honestly,” Hurley said. “That’s been the most fun and interesting part.”

As the performances began to come to their end, the cast and crew of “She Kills Monsters” fervently believe that this was one of the cooler shows that has come through the Malcolm Field Theatre.

With its imaginative sets, meaningful subject matter and silly, fun characters, “She Kills Monsters” proved to be one of the more challenging, yet fun performances.

“(I’m proud of) the entire team that worked on it,” Rzeszutek said. “It feels like it came together really well. I’m very happy with everybody, and I’m really proud of their work.”

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