When Tilly was alive, she was a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, living a parallel life within the confines of the fantasy narratives. Now that she’s dead, her sister Agnes is plunging herself into the elaborate role-playing game to explore Tilly’s imaginary alter-ego. In the play She Kills Monsters, by Qui Nguyen, Agnes goes on a D&D quest to face her grief and grow closer to her sister from across the void. This show is presented by the Westmont Theater Department and runs October 21–22 and 27–29 at the Westmont campus.
Emily Derr, who plays teenage Agnes, expresses excitement for this production because it broaches topics relevant to today’s students. “The show talks about sibling dynamics, issues with sexuality, and society’s norms,” she says. “I think students will relate a lot to the theme of identity — a big part of college is finding out who you are and that’s one of the main themes of this show.”
And of course, being a Dungeons and Dragons play, She Kills Monsters is action-packed as Agnes plays her way through a dramatic and comedic fantasy adventure. “I love D&D for the same reasons I love theater and costume design,” says Lynne Martens, the production’s costume designer (and player of Dungeons and Dragons in real life). “It’s storytelling. We’ve been telling each other stories for millennia, since the beginning of language. We tell ourselves stories to explore and understand the depths of consciousness, the meaning of existence in this world, and how to relate to each other individually and in community.”
Director Mitchell Thomas notes that the show has a suggested 13+ audience advisory, due to mature content. “I hope the audience takes with them the message that grief is messy,” says Derr. “Don’t wait to love others until it’s too late.”