January 19, 2022
With the Winter semester underway, the Alma College Theatre and Dance Department is looking forward to their production of She Kills Monsters, set to run March 31 through April 3.
The unique play, written by Qui Nguyen, centers around a young woman named Agnes Evans. The story unfolds as Agnes discovers the popular fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons.”
Professor and Director of Theatre, Scott Mackenzie has enjoyed the opportunity to bring this unique play to Alma College.
“[The] play is based on Dungeons & Dragons and lots of college students know the game,” Mackenzie said. “I appreciate how performing this show is an opportunity to bring the fantasy world to life for them.”
Mackenzie is looking forward to finally getting to share this production with the college community, having originally scheduled the show for March 2020.
“We cancelled the show and intended to do it the next fall after the pandemic had passed,” Mackenzie said. “Last year we had to delay it again as we could only do small shows with little close contact that we played to a very small live audience and live streamed.”
Following the college’s successful Fall 2021 production of The Addams Family, Mackenzie was confident that they would be able to revisit She Kills Monsters without as many Covid-19 precautions.
“I [originally] did not cast understudies for this show. Then we started to lose actors to [the Omicron variant],” Mackenzie said. “I also had several non theatre students testing positive and being out of my other classes. So, we made an understudy plan.”
Despite the challenges, Mackenzie is happy with the show’s progress. “I have a very talented cast, [and] this show is so relatable to young actors,” Mackenzie said.
“The issues raised in this play are very relatable to anyone, but particularly to young people, so I mostly have been figuring out entrances and exits and when a character should cross the stage, but when it comes to the emotional choices, my actors are often [ahead of] me.”
David Troyer (’24), who was most recently seen in the role of Gomez in the college’s production of The Addams Family is excited to be back on stage for She Kills Monsters.
While Troyer is an experienced actor, his role in She Kills Monsters is quite different from his past characters and has brought with it some new challenges.
“I play some of the monsters and will also be one of the puppeteers,” Troyer said. “The work that you have to do for a nonspeaking role is more body minded. How does this monster move? How do they sound? How confident are they in their fighting?”
“Combat rehearsal in general is a new experience to me since I had no stage combat training prior to this, but [that has] been very fun,” Troyer said. “It’s a new way of moving your body and I’ve been enjoying learning more about it all.”
Although combat training is new to Troyer, he expects changing costumes throughout the show may be even more of a challenge. “Some of the monsters I play are bulky and hairy, while some are more reptilian . . . Add in the combat armor and it gets a little more tricky still.”
In addition to his ensemble part, Troyer has enjoyed the opportunity to work on the role of Chuck. “My favorite part of She Kills Monsters so far has been the understudy runs,” Troyer said.
“[Understudying] gives opportunities for new interactions with other actors, and everyone, both main cast and understudy, the opportunity to learn and explore the characters in our own unique ways. It leads to surprising, fun times onstage.”
Heather Kaatz (’24) is the show’s prop master. Having been a stage manager for multiple Alma College productions, Kaatz has enjoyed the opportunity to “work on the creative/design side.”
“I am responsible for all props used throughout the show, from monsters to swords and giant maps,” Kaatz said. “From buying, building or designing, I have a fantastic team of props artists to help bring the show to life.”
“My favorite part is always seeing the shows come together. Regardless of what position I have for a production, it is rewarding to present something this department has worked so hard on to an audience,” Kaatz said.
Wiley Delisa (’24) plays a monster and puppeteer in She Kills Monsters. Along with being a part of the show’s ensemble, Delisa is the understudy for the role of Orcus.
“I’m learning tons of fight choreography and blocking in order to make the [Dungeons & Dragons] world of the play come to life,” Delisa said. “[As the understudy] for the character of Orcus, [I] have to be sure to learn all his choreography, blocking and lines too.”
For Delisa, the best part of working on a show is making connections with others. “My favorite part of every production here at Alma college is the amazing community and family we have as a theatre department.”
“I know that no matter what role we all have, we’ll be there to support and cheer each other on.” Delisa said. “No rehearsal is ever boring at the Heritage Center, and I’m so happy to be with all my peers again to take on new challenges [in] She Kills Monsters.”