Friday, July 18, 2014

She Kills Monsters

Today is my birthday and so I went out and saw a play. It was a local production of a show called, "She Kills Monsters." This production by Tulsa's American Theater Company was one of the best I have seen here in years. The production was solid and blessed with a few truly inspired moments.

ATC's new small theater space was comfortable and suited the production well. The fight choreography (yes, I said fight choreography) was brilliant and provided for some very entertaining (and amusing) scenes. The puppets (yep, puppets!) were absolutely beautiful, especially the bugbears. It makes me want to give up on miniatures for my D&D games and incorporate puppets instead. They were awesome. 

All of the acting was solid, the characters fun, and although the production might have felt a bit amateurish in spots it was a kind of comfortable and familiar amateurishness like a favorite home movie, that one could watch over and over again. It only served to make the characters more human and the production stronger for it. 

This is a story about finding safety in fantasy, and about hiding from yourself. It's about selfishness, and self loathing, and self discovery. There are some adult themes here about sexuality, and sexual identity, and some strong language. I would caution parents to be aware, but my 10 year old daughter saw the play with me, and I am very glad that she did.

Sloopy McCoy and Ashley Morecraft standout as the leads. McCoy plays Agnes, a young teacher whose sister Tilly (Morecraft) a 15 year old student, and 6 years Agnes's junior recently died in a car accident. Digging through some of Tilly's things, Agnes finds a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) adventure module that Tilly had written. Agnes recruits one of Tilly's high school friends to DM (Dungeon Master, a sort of Referee/Theatrical Director-if you direct theater like Charlie Chaplin did.) the adventure and play the game with her so that she might understand the girl that her sister was a little better and maybe connect with her one last time. 

Yes, this is a play about a woman playing D&D. And if I am honest some of the revelations in the script are a bit clunky, but for the most part the script is so casual and genuinely funny, that its harsher deeper content hits like a sledge hammer. It may feel out of place, but no more so than our protagonist, Tilly was in her life, and so perhaps this too is fitting. 

I commend everyone involved with this production and am overjoyed to hear that their run has been extended to August 2nd. As an avid D&D gamer, I could not have spent my birthday in a more perfect way. And as this year is the 40th Anniversary of D&D, this production seems quite timely too. If you live in or around the Tulsa area, go to to find out more. 

You won't be sorry.



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