VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota’s Department of Theatre is bringing to life the action-packed fantastical world of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) with the play “She Kills Monsters” by acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen. The show streams for free April 30 – May 1 at 7:30 p.m. and May 2 at 2 p.m. at www.usd.edu/theatre/live.
In this contemporary comedy and journey of self-discovery, Agnes Evans jumps headlong into the world of fantasy, fairies and dance battles. “She Kills Monsters” takes the audience to an imaginary realm filled with heart-pounding action, 90s pop culture and the most fearsome creatures the world has ever seen: American teenagers.
“She Kills Monsters” is directed by third-year M.F.A. student Ann-Houston Campbell. “I feel very fortunate to direct a show with such strong female characters as my thesis project for my M.F.A. in Directing,” said Campbell. “The story centers on the relationship between two sisters, Agnes and Tilly. This show is special to me because of my relationships with my sisters; this production is my love letter to them. As the director of the show, it has been such a joy to get to come to rehearsal during these unconventional times and do what we all love—play through storytelling. ‘She Kills Monsters’ is electric, energizing and full of epic battles with monsters in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.”
This play also serves as the thesis for three design/theatre technology students. M.F.A. student Alex Pikiben designed the sound, B.F.A. student Lily Crooks designed the costumes and B.F.A. student Alivia Olson serves as stage manager.
Pikiben discusses his approach to this unique sound design. “I wanted to make a distinction between the reality of the Athens, Ohio, and the fantasy of New Landia,” Pikiben said. “Ohio takes elements of the music genre lo-fi and is played in the background. When we get to New Landia, it sounds like a video game. Toward the end of the show, I wanted the lines to blur, so both worlds have been this cross-pollination effect.”
Crooks elaborates on this opportunity and culmination of her education. “’She Kills Monsters’ has been my dream show to design since I started at USD. Getting to work on a show that is so magical, creative and personal has been such an incredibly rewarding experience,” Crooks said.
“She Kills Monsters” streams for free April 29 – May 1 at 7:30 p.m. and May 2 at 2 p.m. at www.usd.edu/theatre/live, with captioned and un-captioned options available. Check out USD Theatre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for interviews and photos.