She Kills Monsters slays the Confetti Stage
She Kills Monsters at Confetti Stage invites you back to the mid-90s, before cell phones and, more importantly, before nerd culture became mainstream. Remember how bad bullying was and enter a world where nerds distracted themselves and even found some wish fulfillment through the wonder of Dungeons & Dragons. With realistic dialogue and some wonderful comedic moments, Qui Nguyen has penned a powerful and moving script.
Agnes is an utterly average twenty-five-year-old woman who wishes for a less average life. Her wish is granted when her family is killed in a car crash, including her much younger sister. Tilly was Agnes’s opposite in many ways and was immersed in nerdy pursuits that Agnes just couldn’t understand. Much after the crash, she finds a notebook of Tilly’s containing an unplayed D&D module and, along with it, a chance to get to know the sister she knew so little about in life. With the help of Dungeon Master Chuck, she decides to follow her sister’s campaign to try to figure out why Tilly loved role-playing so much. On the opening night of She Kills Monsters, a nearly full house came out to experience themes of familial relationships, anti-bullying, and dealing with grief and loss explored through comedy & adventure.
Sean T. Baldwin, assisted by Marissa Lounello, nimbly directs a great ensemble cast through multiple roles and a multitude of scenes. Leah John portrays multiple roles and shines as the Narrator, setting the tone for the unfolding play. As Agnes, Ash Visker’s energy rose somewhere in her second scene, and from there, she really showcased her emotional range. Chuck, AKA DM Biggs, had terrific physicality that played to great comedic effect. Gesturing in the background as the in-game characters spoke showed some terrific attention to detail. Siobhan Shea (Lilith, Demon Queen) was vibrant and perfectly inhabited her sultry badass character. Molly Waters played Kalliope with wonderful expressions. Sydney Davis (Tilly), along with Molly, Siobhan, and the rest of the cast, executed increasingly difficult fight choreography very well. Underworld beast Orcus is beautifully portrayed here by terrific character actor Vincent Miranda. Playing multiple parts, Kassidi Jarvis excels as Agnes’s best friend, Vera, with a droll accent and great comic timing. Jay Pascual’s plucky parts include a cameo role as a submissive but moody high school student.
The host of scenes these characters inhabit are done with minimal set, with furniture serving to denote the real-world locations. Unfortunately, many of the fantasy scenes are staged on the floor and level with the audience, making them difficult to see. But aside from this and a couple of long scene changes, this production is top-notch. The fight choreography starts out simple but effective and becomes more complex as the show continues. The sound of this show contained some great music (especially under the opening narration) as well as effects that accentuated the action, especially in some fight sequences. The costumes were a mix of 90’s fashion and some wonderful role-playing outfits. The highlight of the tech, however, was probably the stellar props, including a variety of weapons, a Trapper Keeper, and a special surprise for the second boss. These production values all serve to enhance the powerful script, which left the audience clutching their throats after an intense scene right before intermission.
All of this combines for an exceptional night of theater in what I believe is somehow the first local community theater production of She Kills Monsters. This play is not to be missed if you’ve ever played a role-playing game, been bullied, or lost a loved one. Really something for everyone. Tickets are for general seating, so get there early for a seat in the front so you won’t miss any of the wonders.
Thanks for the great comments about Chuck, AKA DM Biggs, “terrific physicality that played to great comedic effect. ” Unfortunately the talented actor’s name was not mentioned — he is Alex Grandin.
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