She Kills Monsters drama production review

Story by Keara Chorn, Messenger Staff Writer

Placer High School debuted their spring theater production for the first time in two years. Their production of “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen and directed by Jason Sinclair Long was shown through March 25th – 26th and April 1st – 2nd. Taking place in the Placer High Auditorium, audiences could purchase their tickets online for $8 per person or $10 at the door.

“She Kills Monsters” is an extraordinary and well written drama that truly captures the coming-of-age genre. Filled with challenges, as well as the struggles of youth, the play resonated with many of the audience. All of this was presented through its interesting plot, humor, and also the combination of the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

Photo credit: Traci Newell

Set in the ‘90s, the dramatic comedy is filled with ‘90s pop culture — giving the setting an overall nostalgic feel to it. It tells the story of an average high school senior, Agnes Evans, who struggles with the loss of her younger sister, Tilly. After finding Tilly’s notebook that was filled with a D&D module, Agnes ventures into the imaginary world of Dungeons & Dragons to embark on an adventure and attempt to reconnect with her sister whom she ignored often.

Its captivating plot is perfect for anyone who enjoys the typical contemporary fiction genre blended in with elements of fantasy. “She Kills Monsters” presented a depiction between everyday mundane life, reality, and the realm of the imaginary.

Most interestingly, switching back and forth from the two different settings seemingly created a distinct contrast to the overall play. The dimming and brightening of the stage lights helped the audience follow with its smooth change of setting, which fit the intermissionless, ninety-minute production. This allowed the world of Dungeons and Dragons to unfold in front of the audience’s eyes. Moreover, the fog effects in the scenes taking place in the fantasy realm gave the stage an overall ethereal ambience to it. Its otherworldliness noticeably contributed to the mysterious mood of the setting.

I really enjoyed the school play. I like the elements of ’90s culture and the acting was better than expected

— Elizabeth Bingley

Typical ‘90s outfits were seen worn by the characters at the beginning of the play, however, when transitioning into the game, the costumes became much more elaborate. Even utilizing prop swords, axes, and daggers, the combat scenes felt slightly restrained. However, they were often thoughtful battles that were rather representative of the protagonist’s internal struggles. In spite of the fight choreography, the five-headed dragon puppets featured in the proportion of the play where Agnes fights the final boss were one of the most impressive props. 

The drama incorporates the balance between themes of loss and self-acceptance. Despite being quite fast-paced, it manages to fit everything from its action-packed scenes to its emotional undertones. Filled with fantastical adventures and also laced with bits of comedy at the same time, the storyline made it absolutely phenomenal. More distinctly, the presentation of both external and internal struggles were well

Photo credit: Traci Newell

represented. In particular, when Agnes was slaying the monsters in the game, it truly was just her battling the grief of her sister’s death.

The unique cast of characters in both realms made the production overall much more intriguing to watch. In addition, the acting truly brought out the storyline through its expressiveness that captivated the audiences. Each character was portrayed in such a remarkable way that they felt almost life-like. 

Character development was another major aspect of “She Kills Monsters”. This was especially seen through the protagonist, Agnes Evans, who began as an ordinary character only to develop into something much more complex. The drama concluded as Agnes learned to accept her loss and slay her own monsters.  

“She Kills Monsters” was a complete success for the Placer drama students. We certainly look forward to seeing the next drama performance this coming November of 2022.