UNC Asheville’s annual senior show, She Kills Monsters, may seem like it’s only for fans of the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons. But with the journey of sisterhood, action-packed choreographed fight sequences, and a heart-rending combination of comedy and drama, this show is about more than just a game.
Performances take place November 14-16 at 7:30 pm; and November 17 at 2:00 pm. General admission is $12; $10 for UNC Asheville faculty and seniors; $7 for students; $10 for OLLI members and UNC Asheville alumni.
Written by Qui Nguyen, co-artistic director for Vampire Cowboys, She Kills Monsters takes the audience on a journey to discover how the popular, but geeky Dungeons and Dragons game creates a deeper connection between two sisters—even though one of them is dead.
Not only does the audience get to experience the growth of this powerful relationship, but also witness characters fight for their goals, literally. With extensive training, the actors will bring their exciting fight choreography to life on stage.
“Actually being able to grapple the weapons and learn how to use those and a proper technique has been absolutely awesome,” said Bri Stewart, a junior drama major playing the ruthless bully, Evil Gabbi.
Tori Isenhour, a senior drama major playing one of the sisters, Tilly, was introduced to fight choreography without any background knowledge and now considers it her favorite part of the show.
“I went into this thinking we’re just going to be tick-tackling swords together and it’s not going to mean anything, but we do everything. It really looks very real,” said Isenhour.
Choosing the Adventure of D&D
In order to decide which show to produce this season, every senior in the show gathered together to decide what show they felt represented the cast the best. The seniors wanted something fresh and new, and something that spoke to marginalized groups, making She Kills Monsters a great fit.
Director Lea Gilbert, a senior drama major, says she embraces the history of Dungeons and Dragons as being a safe space for marginalized groups during the ‘90s.
“You can talk about it openly now and it’s totally fine, but it was definitely not a cool thing,” Gilbert said. “You would hide your playbooks in your backpack, you wouldn’t let anyone know because you’d be made fun of intensely for it, bullied for it. And usually people that played D&D definitely already felt like they needed an escape.”
Rebecca Boyce, stage manager and senior drama student, appreciates the collaborative approach Gilbert has taken when directing the show, allowing everyone’s voice to be considered.
“It’s nice with a senior show because we’re peers and especially with this production specifically, Lea has taken an approach that is much more communal than anything I’ve been a part of,” said Boyce. “Everyone is here to learn and we’re learning alongside one another.”
She Kills Monsters is performed with special permission from Samuel French, Inc., A Concord Theatricals Company.
For information and tickets visit drama.unca.edu or call 828.232.2291.
Written by Peyton Rodgers ’20, UNC Asheville.