A fascinating portrait of the average woman // The Observer

IMAGE SOURCE: SMC Theater Program

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

At first, Agnes is confused by what her sister has seen in the game, wondering about the lack of action within her. However, this quickly changes as the game continues. Agnes enters the world of D&D, joining the characters of Tilly, Lillith (Catherine Cushwa) and Kaliope (Syd Brooks) as they seek to win back the lost soul of Athens. After talking to Orcas (Ashley Chaveriat), former queen of the underworld, they discover that she gave up the soul and must embark on a quest involving three battles to get it back.

The most fascinating battle is when Agnes must fight a character based on 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 get Agnes to choose between him and the game and soon begins to believe that she is cheating on him with Chuck (who is in high school). He realizes his mistake when he goes to Vera, who initially didn’t like him because he hadn’t proposed to Agnes yet. Miles respects Agnes’ decision and ends up joining her in the game once he realizes how important it is to her.

One aspect of the play that I really enjoyed was the character development. This is best expressed through Agnes’ journey to better understand Tilly. She realizes that she has drifted away from Tilly in hopes that her sister would one day change. Because of the car accident that killed Tilly and her parents, that never happened. Throughout the play, Agnes gains knowledge about her sister through the game. She realizes her sister’s deep love for her and her reasons for feeling the way she felt. One 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 class, asking her to buy a page in the ‘phone book. Seeing their meanness, she ends up expelling them from her class.

The game influences Agnès in various ways. By going to play Dungeons and Dragons with Tilly’s friends, Agnès finally sees the game as a way to escape her daily life. The escape theme in “She Kills Monsters” is a widespread and relatable theme.

“She Kills Monsters” connects the characters seamlessly. Agnes, although 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 is playing along. The relationship between Stevie and Vera is a lot of fun to watch, with Stevie’s issues being constantly ignored by Vera, who is her guidance counselor . In a way, this serves as comic relief, especially when Vera is called upon to be a terrible guidance counselor. Overall, “She Kills Monsters” is a character-driven piece that shines with its ability to demonstrate character development.

Title: “She Kills Monsters”

With : Natalie Biegel, Mimi Panzica

Director: Mark Abram-Copenhaver

When: April 7-10

Clovers: 3.5 out of 5

Tags: drama, dungeons and dragons, escape, fantasy, quest, holy mary, sisters, spring play

About Johanna Gooding

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