D&D play inspired audience nostalgia

Abby Stevens, Staff writer

From Oct. 3 through 6, Taylor Little Theatre was transformed into a teenager’s bedroom, complete with posters and an unkept bed.
It was a scene pulled straight from 1995, perhaps more nostalgic for the adults in the audience, considering that most current college students were born a few years too late to have experienced the 90s in all their glory.
The Mercyhurst Theatre Program’s performance of Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters” truly appealed to the geek within us all.
The fast-paced, comedic adventure told the story of Agnes Evans (Jenna Rosciszewski, senior, English) as she attempted to connect with her deceased sister, Tilly (Ella Santillano, senior, Forensic Antropology).
After the rest of her family died in a car accident, Agnes had nothing left to know her sister by except a Dungeons and Dragons module she found in the deceased girl’s bedroom.
Enlisting the help of a local high school nerd, Chuck (Jon Reddinger, sophomore, Cyber Security), Agnes embarked on a quest into the world of her sister’s imagination.
The production was everything a nostalgic geek girl could hope for: well-timed jokes, thrilling fight scenes, a party of strong female adventurers (and one token male), LGBT characters, scary monsters and even a five-headed dragon.
There was never a dull moment or a lull in the action, and the focus shifted with ease between the battle-packed fantasy world and the real world that paralleled it.
The reality in this play does not come without its hardships, which were shown in the forms of Miles (Nick Woll, senior, Religious Studies and Psychology), Agnes’ boring and commitment-fearing boyfriend, and Vera (Abby Whitman, senior, Music Therapy) Agnes’ best friend who is also a chaotic high school guidance counselor.
Underneath all of the adventure and sexual innuendos, however, ran a more sobering, and saddening, truth.
Most of the play took place in the realm of fantasy.
No matter how lifelike Tilly looked and acted during their Dungeons and Dragons campaign, she was still dead in the real world.
The emptying of Tilly’s bedroom throughout the play emphasized this quite strikingly and poignantly.
Behind the scenes of Agnes and Tilly’s madcap adventures through the Dungeons and Dragons campaign, the boxes were being removed and posters taken down, all painful reminders that the bright teenage girl at the heart of this magic was gone and that their journey together would soon come to an end.
The lines between reality and fantasy blurred further as Agnes realized that many of the characters in Tilly’s campaign were inspired by people from the real world, taking the form of a young love, close friends and high school bullies.
All of these factors combined to form an unforgettable story.
Containing equal notes of humor, adventure and sadness, the production was ultimately a smashing success.
While this production of “She Kills Monsters” has come to an end, the Mercyhurst Theatre Program will next be presenting “A Dickens of a Christmas Carol,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by Mary Barile.
This production will run from Dec. 5 through Dec. 8, and will be directed by Mercyhurst University alumna Sarah Krempasky (‘17, Music).