Dragon-slaying heroine relives sister’s adventure in new play

By Theresa Van, Hawkeye Staff

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The MTHS drama department did an outstanding job pulling off their production of She Kills Monsters, the last play of the school year that premiered from May 30 to June 1. The play featured a much larger cast than the drama department’s previous production, the musical Little Shop of Horrors.Directed by drama teacher Jeannie Brzovic, She Kills Monsters is a dramatic comedy written by playwright Qui Nguyen. It debuted Off-Of-Broadway at The Flea Theater in New York City on November 4, 2011.

She Kills Monsters focuses on the story Agnes Evans (Amy Harris), an 18-year-old girl in Athens, Ohio in 1995 after her younger sister Tilly Evans’ (Anabelle Sumera-Decoret) tragic and sudden death in a car crash. With the help of Chuck Biggs (Corey Blanchard), the high school freshman who works at the local comic store, Agnes learns what her sister spent most of her time doing while alive, since  Agnes neglected Tilly in life.

As Agnes goes through the Dungeons & Dragons journey her sister left for her to complete, she meets some interesting characters along the way such as the members of her “party”. Lilith Morningstar, daughter of the devil and class demon queen portrayed by drama club’s president, junior Peja Shymko, is one of three of those characters in her group. The group also includes  Kaliope Darkwalker (Haley Morris) the tracking elf and the former Overlord of the Underworld, Orcus (Michael Wollan).

The goal of the journey Tilly left for Agnes was to defeat an evil five-headed dragon villain,The Tiamat, and retrieve the “Lost Soul of Athens,” which is revealed to be Tilly’s soul. But before she can do that, she must defeat three bosses to reach the Castle of Evil, similarly to a video game and surpassing each level.

The first boss was a small but hot-headed fairy named Farrah (Ash Little), the second a gelatinous version of Agnes’s boyfriend, Miles (Mason Pistole, who plays both the gelatinous blob and the real-life Miles), and last but not least, the surprisingly easy to defeat monster, Vera the Beholder.

Along the way, Tilly and Agnes encounter two succubuses in the form of blood-sucking cheerleaders named Tina and Gabbi (Sarah Acheson and Ashlee Putrick). The two harass Tilly and Agnes and even make fun of and kick Tilly because of her lesbian sexual orientation. This aspect of Tilly is revealed in the previous scene, when Tilly and Lilith were about to make out before being caught by Agnes, who was caught off-guard by her sister’s secret. This makes Agnes realize that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought she did, reopening much of the emotional anguish brought on by Tilly’s death.  

But before the group goes off to fight Tiamat, the biggest plot twist of the play is revealed: the true identity of Tiamat, who is a shape-shifter, turns out to have been Tilly all along. As Agnes processes all of this, a five-headed dragon appears in front of her and Agnes heroically slays it. Each head of the dragon was played by the four main characters (Tilly, Lilith, Kaliope and Orcus) and a certain Steve the Mage (Rahem Sulyman), who just got “killed” by Agnes right before Tiamat’s identity was revealed. Steve’s entire collection of appearances, before each boss battle, are mainly for comedic relief.

The lights dim and a spotlight is put on Agnes as Tilly steps out of the dragon to greet her sister. Tilly and the rest of the characters then read the last part of her journal that she left for her sister, and at the end Tilly and Agnes embrace as Agnes develops a true understanding of the person her sister was, leaving much of the audience in tears.

Each night of the performance was outstanding, concluding with the audience leaving an overwhelmingly positive reaction at the end when all of the cast members came out to make a final bow. The reactions and size of the audience increased each of the three days, with the audience giving a standing ovation to the cast on the third day accompanying a thunderous round of applause, making the cast members and everyone who contributed to the beam with enthusiasm.

She Kills Monsters is not only the last drama production of the school year, but also the last production that senior Michael Wollan will be in at MTHS.

“It’s been a really fun, wild ride. You get to meet a lot of different, strange people and they all have something to bring to the table,” Wollan said. “This show and others have made me a lot of good friends.”

Wollan was enthusiastic about getting to perform in a play involving fantasy, magic and sword fighting.

“As a kid who always picked up sticks when walking down the sidewalk, swinging them around like wands or swords, this has been a dream come true,” Wollan said.

Amy Harris, who plays Agnes, shared her thoughts after Saturday’s show.

“It was fun, it was sad, I cried a lot. It was really a fantastic experience,” Harris said.

She Kills Monsters was Amy’s first major role in a production, as her previous drama experience consisted only of extras and other background characters. Her fellow drama student Rahem Sulyman, who played the hilarious character of Steve, shared a similar response.

“Oh my God, holy crap I feel amazing!” Sulyman exclaimed.

Overall, She Kills Monsters was a spectacular show that really showcase the talent and unique set of skills that  MTHS students and the drama department bring to the table.

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