Creating a nurturing, innovative and stimulating theatrical experience as a means to enliven and inspire young people.
She Kills Monsters
Photo Credits: ????, Tyler Null
A part of our “MainStage of Misfits” summer MainStage Season
Following the death of her parents and of her teenage sister Tilly, Agnes Evans is cleaning out her childhood home. When she finds her sister’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge.
I’ve directed so many shows I’ve been proud of, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt as personally connected as I did over this summer.
I suppose the need to escape into fantasy is universal - it's certainly a large part of why I've devoted most of my life to story-telling in one fashion or another. But the interesting thing about fantasy escapes is that we always take ourselves with us, whether we intend to or not. So our 'escape' really becomes an intimate expression of who we are. Qui Nguyen's wonderful script expresses that brilliantly, and it was invigorating to peer into the story he dreamt up.
But even more interesting than the source material itself was the experience of exploring the show with young actors who are just moving into their teenage years. I felt very privileged to work with a group that refused to shy away from the intimacy of the story and the themes. Right from the beginning, the group was fearless, open, and sensitive. They approached the issues of bullying and isolation within the story with inspiring empathy. They explored the connections between the characters with bravery and with compassion. And they've explored the 'awesomeness' of Tilly's world with weekly D&D sessions, which I had the pleasure to run after rehearsal every day so we could all “better understand” the material!
[And while it wasn’t as core to the experience as what I wrote above, being able to score the show with Riot Grrl music to go with the 90’s theme was SO much fun, and I was really entertained by how many new “Hole” and “Veruca Salt” fans we seemed to create!!]
The best theater, in my opinion, isn’t only trying to entertain us, but has something to say. And these students had plenty to say, as they had audiences laughing uproariously, and then brought them to tears by the end of the show. It was quite the adventure.