‘She Kills Monsters’ relates to teen audience


Photo Courtesy of Bill Wu.

The student directed production, “She Kills Monsters” exceeds expectations in its premiere at WCHS.

By Hannah Zozobrado , Arts Editor

In every typical high school movie, there are the gamer geeks, the jocks, the popular cheerleaders, the annoying freshmen and of course the drama that comes with the social divide. However, WCHS’ spring play She Kills Monsters comes with a different yet realistic approach of high school life, student revelation and language.

Years after the death of her parents and Tilly, her “nerd” sister (played by senior Lilly Boehler ), Agnes, a popular cheerleader in her senior year (played by senior Alexandra Mamalian), discovers Tilly’s notebook. While reading the notebook, Agnes discovers that Tilly had been an avid and well renowned player of the game Dungeons and Dragons. In attempt to feel closer and better understand her sister, Agnes befriends “Dungeon Master” Chuck (played by senior Vincent Douglass) by having him mentor her as she plays the game herself; a game in which “she kills monsters.”

Contrary to the apparent graveness of the plot, it’s hard to not find the play humorous. The interesting use of language was one of the many engaging factors that contributed to its informal atmosphere, giving the play a unique twist. In saying words that are commonly restricted in cliche movies or shows about high school, She Kills Monsters establishes a relatability among its audience.

“I do think the type of humor made it more relatable, in a sense” freshman Bella Mayr said. “I think it was interesting to have people cursing so loud on stage and saying things that usually would be seen as inappropriate.”

The language was not the only source of humor. Characters like Steve, the typical, naive freshman (played by freshman Julian Silva), helped in integrating comic relief in this semi-serious play about grief and acceptance. The oscillation between solemnity and comedy were balanced to the point where one could say it was a rollercoaster of emotions. The multiple allusions to popular television showssuch as the iconic American sitcom, “Friends”and the use of modern music succeeded in enticing the crowd.

“I think what stood out to me the most was the attention to detail in the sets and the use of music,” sophomore Ethan Sundel said. “I particularly enjoyed the ‘Friends’ theme song.”

Aside from the various references to pop culture, the music in itself had been a constituent in making the fight scenes appear as fast-paced and realistic as possible. In this year’s She Kills Monsters, there had undoubtedly been more fight scenes than one would expect. However, despite it being a fairly new tactic seen in a WCHS school production, the set had been convenient for the fight scenes’ choreography and smooth scene transitions.

The diversity in the characters’ personalities were refreshing in the sense that each character had a significant role throughout the entire production; there never was an unnecessary character who didn’t move the plot along. Ultimately, a significant contributor to the characters’ distinct personalities are attributed to the talent of the actors and actresses.

Despite there being numerous unique and humorous elements that aided in the show’s overall farce, this school production does not neglect its subtle and hidden realities. At a glance, She Kills Monsters does not come across as serious in the nonchalant way it is delivered. However, in the show’s progression, there is a slow unfolding of secrets and controversial topics that have the audience surprised at the delivery of such turn of events.

She Kills Monsters showed that things aren’t always as they seem and that you don’t realize how much you miss out on something until it’s gone,” Mayr said. “I think it was more relatable compared to past shows.”

Homophobia, bullying and the effects of enforcing the social divides existent throughout high schools are all topics that She Kills Monsters covers as Agnes learns more about her sister. The irony lies in how, through a video game, Agnes discovered that her sister is not as two-dimensional as she may have thought. With the many surprises throughout the production, She Kills Monsters can be seen as an accurate depiction of real life in terms of its spontaneity.

“The moral of the story was to hold onto and love those close to you because you never know when they could leave you,” Sundel said. “ I thought the lesson was displayed fairly well in the play.”

With the work performed by 38 cast and tech members combined, the production was fun to watch for how unique it was in comparison to other WCHS productions. While doing so, She Kills Monsters had ensured a good balance of comic relief for the weight of the story’s moral: appreciate the people you love before it’s too late.