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SHE KILLS MONSTERS Manny Fried Playhouse/Subversive Theatre Collective
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Nov 7, 2019, 12:16
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Through November 16
SHE KILLS MONSTERS Manny Fried Playhouse/Subversive Theatre Collective

“Dungeons and Dragons” was one of those games from decades ago, young people prowling tunnels and old buildings and the depths of history .
It’s now, apparently, mostly a computer game, but it wasn’t always.
Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters” looks back to the early days, in tunnels below Athens, Ohio in a world of people looking for a life different from their own.
These are kids and adults who are different, many of those ridiculed as they ground through high school, desperately wanting to move on past that period of life.
Agnes (Emily Yancey) just wants to get out, school, family and town.
She has a younger sister who is a problem, Tilly (Jamie Nablo).
When she dies, Agnes investigates and turns up a book, a notebook left to her by Tilly which thoroughly confuses her.,
She finds Chuck (David Moran), wearing a black academic gown to lead a group deep into “D&D,” who looks at the book left by Tilly and tells Agnes it’s a set of instructions for a quest.
The older sister decides to follow the trail of her younger sister and find out more about her and why she was so secretive.
That’s when Agnes discovers her sister was gay and mixed in with a group of angry and active young women.
In this ghost world, she also finds her sister when Agnes and the others start off on the quest Tilly designed.
Nguyen’s story crosses between the world and the world of “D&D.”
This is no soft and fluffy world.
The women carry weapons and Agnes winds up with a sword.
They move into a world where the devil is present and one of his allies, Orcus (Rick Lattimer), is traveling with them as they move deeper into darkness.
Is it silly?
Yes.
Is it funny?
Often, yes?
Obviously, the whole premise of people trying to join the world of Tolkien can be pretty silly.
Still, it’s an entertaining look at Nguyen’s world, where the key figures are women and the men are there more for comic relief, Chuck and Orcus.
There’s a strong cast, led by Yancey, Nablo and Moran.
Director Drew McCabe has a fine sense of pace and John Kennedy’s exceptional set design, along with Kurt Schneiderman’s lighting and monsters and costumes from Brenna Prather, Michele Costa, Gail Argetsinger and director McCabe.
Those props and costumes continue the female empowerment key to the story.
It would be a mistake to think of this as some Halloween show running past the event to keep the show on stage.
It’s a mixture of female empowerment, seeking new adventures in life and searching for family.
“She Kills Monsters” is humor with a message and worth seeing.

A.W.

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