The play 2011 She kills monsters by Qui Nguyen tells the story of Agnes Evans. Agnes is portrayed as an extremely average woman leading a normal life until her entire family is killed in a car accident. Coping with her loss, Agnes comes across a Dungeons and Dragons module that was written by her sister Tilly. As she dives into the game to get to know her sister and reconcile the emotions surrounding her death, Agnes learns a lot about her sister and herself. This show explores the ways people seek to discover who they are while navigating a world that often doesn’t allow people to fully be themselves. She kills monsters also sheds light on how our stories intersect. Audiences can join this humorous and dramatic story for four more performances at TAFE (Theatre Arts for Everyone) in York, PA.
Under the direction of Quinton Laughman, the cast and crew put together a funny and heartwarming production, evoking laughter and tears from the audience. Narrator Laney Poulin (who also plays Farrah the Fairy and Evil Tina) introduces us to the main cast. Poulin kicks off the show as it should with lots of energy and good enunciation (difficult in the performance space, which has strange acoustics). As the play progresses, we meet a cast of characters who exist in the real world of Agnes and Tilly as well as the D&D game world.
Lucia Marteny, as Evil Gabbi, joins Poulin (as Evil Tina) in their torment of Tilly and Agnes in the game and in the real world. Marteny and Poulin have perfected their deliciously devilish smiles and laughs as well as their synchronous movements. Samuel Roberts appears in and out of the game world and the real world as Steve, an unhappy teenager who dies over and over again in the game. One of the series’ funniest real-world scenes features Roberts (Steve ) with Kayla Bailey (Vera) and Manny Tellado (Miles) in which Steve comes looking for advice on stopping the fanfare. Kayla Bailey and Manny Tellado primarily exist in the real world as Agnes’ friend and school counselor Vera and Agnes’ boyfriend Miles. It was unfortunately hard to hear all of Bailey’s lines at times, but her interactions with Agnes, Miles, and the students are humorous and demonstrate good comedic timing. Tellado portrays Miles with endearing earnestness. Her scenes with Vera de Bailey and Kimahri Garcia as Chuck Biggs are hilarious, and her fight scene with Agnes (played by Sydney Kessler-Appell) is so rousing it elicits a spontaneous round of applause.
Zo Szilagyi, Kayla Gorman, and Matt Bahn star as Lilith/Lilly, Kaliope/Kelly, and Orcus/Ronnie, who make up Tilly’s D&D party. Szilagyi, Gorman and Bahn connect well on stage, drawing the audience into the action. Szilagyi’s attitude is perfect for the role of demon queen Lilith, while Gorman’s grace suits dark elf Kaliope. Bahn provides wonderful comic relief as the television-obsessed demon lord Orcus, using his facial expressions and animated voice to heighten the humor of each scene.
Kimahri Garcia plays Chuck Biggs, one of Tilly’s true friends who helps Agnes through the D&D module as a dungeon master. Garcia is one of the most dynamic actors on stage, handling the comedy of the character as well as the emotional parts of the play with great finesse. This reviewer is looking forward to seeing Garcia in future productions. One of the most magical parts of this production is the interaction between Chuck de Garcia and Sydney Kessler-Appell as Agnes. Kessler-Appell is extremely compelling in her roles as Agnes Evans. It’s thrilling to see how Kessler-Appell handles Agnes’ emotional transformation throughout the show. Skylar Newman rounds out the cast as Tilly Evans, Agnes’ deceased sister and creator of New Landia and the D&D module. Newman’s stage presence is phenomenal, and she does a great job of portraying Tilly’s confidence in acting and the complicated emotions Tilly experienced in real life that led to the creation of her module.
While the space was challenging at times due to the acoustics and orientation of the stage and audience, the TAFE cast and production crew put together a captivating performance of She kills monsters. The fight choreography is fantastic, as are the costumes, transporting the audience into the story. The public has four other chances to attend this comforting and amusing spectacle. For more information and to order tickets, please visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188697®id=194&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Ftafepa.org%2Ftickets%2Fshekillmonsters ?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1