Dungeons and Dragons fans take center stage in She Kills Monsters

School play tackles themes of grief, loss and acceptance


Ella Vladyko

Break a leg: Junior Alexander Kleparek and senior Katy Menzel clash swords in preparation for the opening night of She Kills Monsters on April 20. The cast and crew worked hard on the production to deliver their best work.

From April 20-29, the Drama Club presented their rendition of She Kills Monsters, a drama-comedy play by Qui Nguyen that debuted in 2011. Directed by Barry Cogswell, the play starred senior Katy Menzel and sophomore David Akin as sisters Agnes and Tilly Evans. Staged in the Performing Arts Center, club members boasted their hard work to an acclamatory audience. 

She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes, an average high school girl looking to reconnect with her sister, Tilly, after her untimely death. Agnes finds Tilly’s old Dungeons and Dragons campaign and appoints the help of Chuck, a freshman keen on the game, to help her play out her sister’s fantasy.  Through adventures and discoveries both within the campaign and in her everyday life, Agnes learns valuable lessons about life and love. 

The popular play tackles issues of homophobia, acceptance and coming out, highlighting the struggles of those in the LGBTQ+ community. Agnes realizes Tilly is a lesbian through her diary-slash-DND campaign, a fact that Tilly herself struggles to accept. Agnes is able to see the world through her sister’s eyes, finding a perspective full of fear of those who are unaccepting, but also love for her secret girlfriend. 

“I’m also a pretty queer DND kid, so it wasn’t hard to tap into Tilly’s character,” Akin said. 

Casting began in December of 2022, with members of the Drama Club trying out for the various parts in the play. Some of the characters seemed to align with their actors’ real personalities seamlessly, like those of junior Zachary Moreland and his role as Chuck. 

“He’s my character… I felt like I was destined to play him,” Moreland said. 

The school’s production of She Kills Monsters was a labor of love for everyone involved. The cast and crew spent months rehearsing, building sets, and perfecting their costumes and makeup. Cogswell and the stage manager, senior Hannah Hackney, worked tirelessly to make sure each detail was just right. However, preparation for opening night was somewhat rocky. The committee was only able to have a single run-through before their first show. 

“I just wish we started sooner, so we could have more time to rehearse before opening night,” Hackney said. 

Despite the troubles with preparation, the club was still able to successfully reel in its audience during the play’s debut. Comedic dialogue, moving performances and a compelling storyline pulled in the viewers into the universe of She Kills Monsters.

“It’s very rewarding to see how [the audience] react[s]; rehearsing on end makes you forget what moments are supposed to be funny or sad,” Cogswell said. 

The Drama Club’s rendition of She Kills Monsters was a resounding success. The play resonated with audiences of all ages and sparked important conversations about grief, acceptance and representation. The cast and crew deserve commendation for their hard work and dedication in bringing this powerful story to life. Their production serves as a reminder of the transformative power of theater and the importance of supporting creative expression in the school.