HWS Theatre will open its 2016-2017 season with the production of the dramatic comedy “She Kills Monsters” written by Qui Nguyen, running Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The show will take place in McDonald Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and will be the inaugural fall production in the space.
Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth, “She Kills Monsters” explores the world of role-playing before the technology boom, through the narration of a geek heroine. It tells the story of Agnes Evans, played by Samantha Shaffner ’17, who goes on an epic adventure in her deceased sister’s imaginary world of Dungeons and Dragons. In the course of her journey, Agnes meets fiendish cheerleaders, nasty ogres, deadly fairies and a five-headed dragon.
“I was drawn to this play because of the ways it weaves together humor and heart,” says Woodworth, noting that it offers a refreshing take on centuries of stage combat. “The excitement of the new space is intensified by the energy of the beginning of a new academic year. McDonald Theatre features state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment and we will definitely be putting it all to work on this production!”
Gail Quintos ’17, who plays Lilith – mild mannered by day and Demon Queen by night – is working with Woodworth for the third time on the HWS stage, and says, “Her creativity and analysis of transforming plays from page to stage is always a fascinating experience.”
The “She Kills Monsters” student cast also includes: Kayli Ennis ’17 (Tilly/Narrator), Thomas Perry ’19 (Chuck), Casey Cady ’18 (Kaliope), Chad Reid ‘18 (Orcus), Joseph Islam ’20 (Miles/Gelatinous Cube), Isabel Ingram ’19 (Vera/Evil Tina), Margaret “Gretty” Hollister ’20 (Farrah/Evil Gabbi) and Austin Jennings ’19 (Steve).
Behind the scenes of the HWS production, the show’s creative set and characters are coming to life through numerous collaborations. Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Hatch and Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson have created epic fight scenes and other choreography. HWS Theatre Resident Sound Designer Kelly Walker also has brought on local electronic music duo, Shrimps, comprised of Brady Leo and Joe Calabrese. Shrimps have prepared an original score for the production.
“Shrimps and Kelly have been especially attuned to the historic context of the play, down to the sounds of specific synthesizers that were manufactured in the 80s and 90s,” Woodworth says. “Long before we even cast the production, Kelly and Shrimps were in McDonald Theatre late into the night creating original music which underscores each of our epic fight scenes. Watching them work together was astounding.”
In addition, AErin Lanphear is completing costume design and Bill Burd is serving as scenic designer and technical director. Students in Burd’s “Lighting Design” class have collaborated with him on the production’s lighting design.
Clare McCormick ’17 is serving as dramaturg, Grace Vorosmarti ’19 is stage manager, and Luis Figueroa ’18, Lucy Morgan ’20 and Adam Young ’19 are assistant stage managers.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Area Records, the College Store and at the Gearan Center (room 202, Monday-Friday, 2-4 p.m.). A limited number of free tickets will be available to HWS students with ID one hour before each performance.
This production will contain adult content and language and is not recommended for young audiences. “She Kills Monsters” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.