SVSU theatre department prepares to slay in action-packed new play

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Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15, the theatre department will be putting on its second show of the semester, Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters.”

Directed by associate professor of theatre David Rzeszutek, the play traverses somewhat new territory for the theatre department, as its setting and plot demand some extra care and attention.

“I was introduced to the show either last year or two years ago when I was at the Kennedy Center American College Regional Festival … and it just looked incredible,” Rzeszutek said. “It looked like a lot of fun. It looked like something that would be really challenging for the students and for myself, and it held up to its expectations.”

The story of “She Kills Monsters” revolves around the main character, Agnes, who is trying to reconnect with her recently deceased sister, Tilly, through the game of “Dungeons & Dragons.” Labeled as a “high-octane dramatic comedy,” the show takes its audience to a brand new fantasy world full of imaginative creatures.

The show will star Allison Kania as Tilly, Amber Hadley as Agnes and Joshua Lloyd as Chuck.
The play’s subject matter introduced the SVSU theatre department to new things, as the show required extensive fight choreography, the nature of which was unlike anything the department has accomplished in the past.

“This show has the most fighting our stage has ever seen,” Rzeszutek said. “You name a weapon and it’s probably featured … it’s pretty fun, and it’s a big undertaking.”

According to Rzeszutek, the cast went through about a week-long process of learning the fight choreography. The department even brought in a special guest artist to come in and further teach the cast all of the necessary maneuvers needed to pull off the show.

“We’ve had punches and slaps and kicks and some sort of wrestling, but this is the most intricate fighting that I’ve seen on the stage since I’ve been here,” Rzeszutek said. “If you want to see some exciting stuff on stage, this will definitely bring it.”

Not only does the show call for extensive fighting, but it also features elaborate creatures and monsters. This allowed the department to go all out with various prop and puppet designs to make the fantasy world more colorful and alive.

Jerry Dennis, who has been the lead set designer at SVSU for several years, is responsible for most of the show’s technical aspects.

Dennis is no stranger to fantasy worlds, as he has worked on previous SVSU productions of plays such as “The Hobbit,” but “She Kills Monsters” promises to top even the classic fantasy story as far as its creature and set design goes.

Though the show’s tone is mainly meant to make its audience laugh and have a good time, Rzeszutek is adamant in saying that while the show can be light-hearted fun, it still carries enough dramatic presence to move audiences in one way or another.

“(There’s a) surprising, heartwarming moment that’s probably going to catch you off-guard,” Rzeszutek said. “It’s really funny, it’s a very sweet play and it has a definite message of acceptance and empowerment.”

Performances for “She Kills Monsters” will begin Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre, with following shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the same time and an additional showing Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m.

Ticket prices are $13 for general admission and $10 for both students and senior citizens. For more information regarding show times and tickets, contact the SVSU Box Office at (989) 964-4261.

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