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‘She Kills Monsters’: A fascinating portrait of the average woman

| Monday, April 11, 2022

Christina Sayut
IMAGE SOURCE: SMC Theatre Program

“She Kills Monsters,” the spring play at Saint Mary’s College, debuted Thursday. The play depicts the story of Agnes Evans (Natalie Biegel) and her younger sister Tilly (Mimi Panzica) who has recently passed away. Agnes is characterized as an average woman while Tilly was often called a nerd at her school, using the game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) to escape everyday life. After the death of her sister, Agnes starts to play Dungeons and Dragons, recruiting Tilly’s friend Chuck (Nathaniel Clay) to teach her the game.

At first, Agnes is confused by what her sister saw in the game, questioning the lack of action within it. However, this quickly changes as the game continues. Agnes enters into the world of D&D, joining the characters of Tilly, Lillith (Catherine Cushwa) and Kaliope (Syd Brooks) as they seek to gain the Lost Soul of Athens. After talking to Orcus (Ashley Chaveriat), former queen of the underworld, they discover that she has given the soul away and must go on a quest involving three battles to retrieve it.

The most fascinating battle is one where Agnes must fight a character based off of her boyfriend Miles (Daniel Gray), who is disliked by Tilly and Agnes’ friend Vera (Gabrielle Faye Gallaway). Miles is a fascinating character in the play. He attempts to make Agnes choose between him and the game and soon starts to believe that she is cheating on him with Chuck (who is in high school). He realizes his error when he goes to Vera, who initially did not like him because he hadn’t yet proposed to Agnes. Miles respects Agnes’ decision and eventually joins her in the game once he realizes how important it is to her.

An aspect of the play that I thoroughly enjoyed was the character development. This is best expressed through Agnes’ journey to better understand Tilly. She realizes that she distanced herself from Tilly in the hopes that her sister would one day change. Because of the car crash that killed Tilly and her parents, this never happened. Throughout the play, Agnes gains knowledge of her sister through the game. She realizes the deep love her sister had for it and her reasons for feeling the way she did. A scene that highlights Agnes’ character development is when the evil cheerleaders — played by Laney Stacey, Julia Zusi, Molly Minick and Olivia Pandolfi — come to her classroom, asking her to buy a page within the yearbook. Seeing their malice, she ends up kicking them out of her classroom. 

The game influences Agnes in a variety of ways. In setting out to play Dungeons and Dragons with Tilly’s friends, Agnes eventually sees the game as a way to escape her everyday life. The theme of escapism in “She Kills Monsters” is one that is prevalent and relatable. 

“She Kills Monsters” seamlessly connects characters. Agnes, despite being a teacher, develops the ability to connect with those who were close to her younger sister. Her student Stevie (Anna Milz) is excited when she learns from Vera that her teacher plays the game. The relationship between Stevie and Vera is very entertaining to see, with Stevie’s problems being constantly ignored by Vera, who is her guidance counselor. Somehow it serves as comic relief, especially when Vera is called out for being a terrible guidance counselor. Overall, “She Kills Monsters” is a character-driven play that shines in its ability to demonstrate character development. 

 

 

Title: “She Kills Monsters”

Starring: Natalie Biegel, Mimi Panzica

Director: Mark Abram-Copenhaver 

When: April 7-10

Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5 

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