PITTSBURG — In the game Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Tilley stands armored with sword wielded, ready to take on monsters that cross her path.
According to the Pittsburg High School Theatre cast of “She Kills Monsters”, D&D could represent the adversities the character Evans has outside of the game.
“I think that her D&D world was her way to deal with the fact that she didn’t feel comfortable in perhaps in her own skin or perhaps she didn’t think that her family or friends or society would accept her sexual orientation and she never did get the chance to come out, who knows is she would have,” said PHS senior McKenna Shaw, who plays Tilly. “She almost didn’t except her own sexual orientation but in D&D she got to be confident in her own skin.”
“In her own armor she got to be this amazing fighting machine but really she’s just a girl.”
PHS senior Kylee Eidson, who plays Tilly’s big sister Agnes Evans, agreed.
“Homosexuality is a huge topic in the show and overcoming that and the struggles characters dealt with slaying the monsters, it could be representative of that and how she had to slay social Expectations,” Eidson said.
When Agnes lost her family in a car accident, she had to confront the uncomfortable truth that she never really knew her younger sister.
“Going through her sister’s room she finds this module and she goes to somebody named Chuck at a comic book store … at first she views D&D as a stupid game teenagers play, but as the story progresses it turns out it’s meaningful for her because she finds out a lot about her sister in there.”
The show follows Agnes’ adventures following a Dungeons & Dragons module (or map) that Tilly, a “D&D nerd,” wrote when she was 15. The adventures come to life with the help of five life-sized dragon puppets, each weighing about 30 pounds and worn with the help of backpack frames.
The cast was taught stage combat and swordplay by New York City fight choreographer Paul Molnar.
“He is awesome, and it’s so cool to have that opportunity right here in town,” Shaw said, adding she usually would have to travel to get that same opportunity. “He taught us how to do everything safely.”
Through her adventures in D&D Agnes discovers her sister was a lesbian and bullied at school because of it. Slaying “monsters” on stage could be representational of slaying homophobia, intolerance, and hatred, cast members say.
Mona Estes, a senior who plays the role of Lilith, said the show is important because it has messages worth hearing.
“It shows to appreciate your family when you have them, because they won’t always be there, and that’s something we tend to forget,” Estes said in a release. “And, it reminds us to accept everybody for their differences. It touches a bit into the LGBTQ community, and as a member of that community, I think it is really important to have that perspective.”
The show is being produced at Memorial Auditorium and is being directed by Greg Shaw, with technical direction by Chuck Boyles.
Performances will be 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $5, $8, and $10, and are on sale now at www.memorialauditorium.org, at the box office at 503 N. Pine, and by calling 620-231-7827. They’ll also be sold at the door starting one hour prior to each show.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.