Give Now

She Kills Monsters: Pagan Play And Pathos

an action filled play that at its tear drenched heart is a lovely story of the uniting of two sisters

battle scene

Photo: Bloomington Playwrights Project

The Elven Korinne Dunn battles the vampire cheerleader, Kelsey Carlisle.

In Qui Ngyen’s play She Kills Monsters at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Agnes, Heather Michele Lawler, is an average figure. Average height, average weight, average mid-twenties school teacher…average, average, average…except, perhaps a bit below average in imagination and ambition. As she comes upon a notebook that the teen aged sister she mostly ignored left at her death that all begins to change.

Sister Tilly, Emily Kelly, has left a detailed Dungeons and Dragons style role playing game complete with characters and challenges that depend on the rolls of dice. Somewhat hesitantly, Agnes goes to a local magic shop and convinces the owner Chuck, the redoubtable Ben Smith, to be her dungeon master.  The play takes Agnes and us into the world that Tilly created.

In Tilly’s quite wonderful world, the shy nerdy teen is Tilly the Paladin, a fearsome adventurer. A wheel chair bound friend, Korinne Dunn is a wonderfully graceful elf. A shy fellow, Zach Trinkle, is the fearsome horned Orcus. A Goth girl Tilly admires and desires, Katherine Nash, is her sturdy, loving companion.

There are plenty of martial arts challengers to be met in the game as Agnes and Tilly wield swords while the elf swings a quarter staff and the Goth hefts a battle axe. Thanks to the efforts of director Scott Weinstein and fight choreographer Matt Herndon, it didn’t appear that that there was any permanent damage, but I’m betting on a few hidden bruises.

At first Agnes is overwhelmed by the game, the reality of it and the challenges, but as she meets and overcomes them her understanding and love for her lost sister grows as her own inner warrior is nourished by the game.

The production of She Kills Monsters at the Bloomington Playwrights Project is first rate. David Wade’s scenic design with a bed that magically appears and disappears, lighted by Lee Burkes is a fine place for the adventure and the more prosaic moments. Heather Michele Lawler is a pleasure as the initially average and then quite anything but, Agnes.  Emily Kelly is a sympathetic figure as the nerdy sister who takes on the role of a heroic adventurer. Bianca Black was Agnes’s school teacher companion. Josh Burkholder was Agnes’s hesitant fiancé.  Kelsey Carlisle was the charming story book narrator framing the play and with Brantley Goodrich a blood sucking cheer leader in the game.  Nick Pappas got good laughs as an unfortunate Dungeons and Dragons wannabe, who’s quickly dispatched every time he comes on the scene either in the game or at school.

It’s a very clever play. There’s lots of action, interesting monsters, neat switches from real life in and out of the game.  At its heart She Kills Monsters is a delightfully tear drenched story of how the dead Tilly’s game brings Agnes to life.

Final performances a at the Bloomington Playwrights Project are December 18-20

At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker

 

George Walker

While completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Theatre & Dance Stories

Theatre & Dance Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Earth Eats

Quick Side Dish: Balsamic Glazed Kabocha

balsamic-kabocha_006-602x401

With cubes of tender kabocha pumpkin, sweet red bell pepper and whole basil leaves glazed in a tangy balsamic glaze, this quick side dish is a hit.

Read more »

Earth Eats is a podcast, radio program and blog of the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

More from Earth Eats »

This Week on Focus on Flowers

Cardinals

northern cardinal

Plant lots of nasturtiums, coneflowers, and sunflowers to provide seeds for these year-round garden residents.

Read more »

Focus on Flowers is a weekly program about flower gardening hosted by master gardener Moya Andews.

More from Focus on Flowers »