BWW Review: SHE KILLS MONSTERS at William Penn Senior High School
William Penn Performing Arts Institute (WPPAI), an outreach educational program of the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, presented SHE KILLS MONSTERS by Qui Nguien on November 17th and 18th, at William Penn Senior High School. SHE KILLS MONSTERS is a comedic insight into the world of the fantastical and popular role-playing game, "Dungeons and Dragons." Students of the WPPAI, took the liberty of recreating this story for their Fall play and it was a complete success.
The actors not only did a superb job performing in front of a large crowd but also kept them engaged with the story. The actors showed passion towards their characters, especially Chuck (Watson) the "Dungeon Master," who provided humor throughout the whole production. He expressed dedication towards his role, making the audience laugh at his quirky jokes and actions on stage. In addition, the director Lauren Burke did an amazing job preparing the cast for an outstanding production.
We are first introduced to the recreation of the "Dungeons and Dragons" board game, spectacularly designed by Tom Ryan. With the assistance of his students, Ryan's creation was a mind-blowing set that stood out to the audience as they walked in. With the help of some effective lighting, everything appeared magically realistic, setting the mood for an intriguing production. While the sound effects malfunctioned occasionally, it didn't deter the actors from maintaining their characterizations.
Sticking with the theme of the story, the interesting props included life-sized dragon puppets, a blow-up missile that added to some remarkable comedic timing, and a slimey "bubble boy." Complementing the props, were costumes that were designed to express the characters' personalities.
With a lot of time devoted, Ryan's technical theatre class designed, created, and brought to life Tiamat, a mythical five-headed dragon puppet, which served as the cornerstone for revenge by Tilly (Izzy Osby), the dearly departed sister of Agnes (Aeron Orsie). Tilly (Osby) is an intriguing and peculiar character that faces scrutiny from her own sister and others. Her sister Agnes is an average high school student and a popular Varsity cheerleader. After Tilly's death, Agnes comes upon Tilly's Dungeons and Dragon's notebook. With the help of Chuck (Kennard Watson), Agnes goes on a journey to find out her sister's true identity. The realistic characters written in Tilly's book were based on people in her life, all of which faced an obstacle that could only be conquered through escaping their own reality and entering the world of "Dungeons and Dragons."
This performance is one of many performing arts opportunities provided to the students at William Penn by the William Penn Performing Arts Institute. The audience was completely mesmerized by the devotion the students showed on stage. The next production for the students will be a Spring musical, which has yet to be announced but one that will surely showcase the many talents of the students at William Penn.
Photo courtesy of William Penn Performing Arts Institute