‘She Kills Monsters’ slays

On March 21, 22, and 24, the spring play “She Kills Monsters” wowed audiences with its D&D-centered plot.

Casella was draped in rainbow lights Friday, March 22 as the audience silently filtered in gulp down the carefully prepared stage. To the far-left stood a dresser with clothes frothing out the drawers; mimicking the pigsty state of many teenage bedrooms. The main stage was bordered by looming, cream-colored walls that incorporated varying, blocked levels, giving depth and interest to the incoming story. 

As the lights dimmed, a powerful, narrating voice began, “In a time before Facebook…,” taking the audience back to 1995. VTSU Castleton’s Fine and Performing Art’s She Kills Monsters was a departure from renditions of 1950’s-style performances, seen in Silent Sky and the It Girl. The contemporary feel of the play certainly drew in audience members and the fantasy-esque feel was immediately present as the story’s narrator stepped on the stage dressed as a wizard. 

“I think it was a very nice change to go from normal, typical leaning events to a more fun event for people’s enjoyment,” commented Senior Christopher Kerven. 

The overarching narrative of the play focused on the relationship between two estranged sisters, physically and emotionally. After a tragedy strikes the family, the sisters embark on a journey to redefine their relationship as they discover new dimensions of each other’s life. 

Central to the play was the nature of the journey; through the game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). While certainly, many audience members were aware of the game, those who were not were quickly introduced to the details and connotations of the game through the dynamic relationship between Agnes, the older sister and protagonist, and Chucky, a friend of Tilly (Agne’s sister) and “Dungeon Master.” 

Through Tilly’s “Homespun” manual of a D&D game, Agnes discovers the intricacies of Tilly’s social, romantic, and emotional life. Underpinning the story were the challenges faced by those living outside the social status quo, manifested in Tilly’s character, and reflected in her “nerd” social status and sexual identity. 

As the play developed, the audience was introduced to characters in a comedic manner, relieving the tension between the purpose of the journey and the setting of D&D. These comedic undertones persisted, incorporating contemporary issues that allowed the audience to be drawn into the context of the play. 

“Are you good evil…?” asked the character Lilith. 

“I’m a democrat” responded Agnes, earning a laugh from the crowd. 

“Some parts were quite funny, I chuckled,” recounted Senior Christian Meyer. 

The play certainly showed off the talent of VTSU Castleton as intricate masks, costumes, and props allowed the audience to fully immerse within the imagination of D&D. 

While the play was punctuated with carefully choreographed fight scenes, the crux and purpose of the D&D game was revealed as an escape from the confines of reality. The ability to transform reality into a world of heroes, heroines, villains, and monsters through imagination removes limitations. Indeed, while physically paralyzed from the waist, the character Kelly was able to move freely within the unrestricted expanse of imagination as a Fae character, Kaliope. 

As the curtains drew to a close, the audience was left with the resounding message that life is but a series of stories created through experience. In this sense, life continues through storytelling, as Agnes uncovered through her expedition to connect with her sister.

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