Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS

Those who have happily misspent hours in the universe of role-playing games (Dungeons & Dragons), as well as n00bs (newbies), former geeks, parents of geeks, and anyone who has ever attended high school will find resonance in SHE KILLS MONSTERS, the comic romp by award-winning playwright Qui Nguyen (Vietgone)presented by Foothill Theatre Arts. In this rollicking drama Agnes, born without a single nerd cell in her body, finds herself ven­­turing into the imaginary world of homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, evil cheerleaders, and warrior maidens that was her geeky sibling's role-playing refuge. This heart-pounding homage to D&D, teen alienation, love and loss creates a winning comic drama called, "Breathtaking. Hilarious, heart-wrenching," by Broadway World.

SHE KILLS MONSTERS, directed by Bruce McLeod, will be presented three weeks only, November 2 through 18 (press opening: Saturday, Nov. 3), with performances 7:30pm Thursdays, 8pm Fridays & Saturdays, 2pm Sundays at the Lohman Theatre, 12345 El Monte Road, at the bottom of the hill on the Foothill College campus, Los Altos Hills. FREE RUSH ADMISSION for those arriving in costume on Nov. 2 or 3 (subject to availability, starting at 7:30pm). For tickets ($5 - $20) and information the public can visit www.foothill.edu/theater or call (650) 949-7360.

SHE KILLS MONSTERS follows the story of a high school teacher whose teen-aged younger sister has been killed in a car crash, along with their parents. While packing up her sibling's belongings, Agnes comes across a D&D manual and follows its trail, eventually ending up inside the world of ogres and dragons in which her sister reigns as uber-warrior. A delightful look at alternate realities, the play also delves into the trials of real life. Said The New York Times, "When someone gets his heart torn out in She Kills Monsters, it comes complete with grisly sound effect. No less impressive, however, are the play's depictions of the more conventional wounds of adolescence, the ones that come from loving and not being loved in return. The whole enterprise is kind of dopey and kind of invigorating and kind of remarkable. It will slash and shapeshift its way into your heart." TheatreMania described the play as, "Packed with action, wit, and a sizable nerd quotient. A delight from start to finish" and the Chicago Tribune called it, "Clever, funny, moving, and delightfully geeky. Nguyen is a refreshing, break-the-rules writer."

According to American Theatre Magazine, "For most of the past decade, Nguyen has been on a self-appointed mission to make theatre safe for dorks. As the resident playwright for New York City's Obie-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company (where he is also co-artistic director), he has written an onslaught of irreverent, action-packed geekfests designed to (a) show the hipster and fanboy crowds that theatre can be cool and fun, and (b) make several genres that have long been associated with other media-science fiction, horror, martial arts-palatable for theatrical consumption." Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American playwright and fight choreographer, gained national attention with his hit comedy Vietgone, which captured rave reviews and awards across the country. His other plays include Soul Samurai, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Krunk Fu Battle Battle, Trial By Water, Living Dead in Denmark, Stained Glass Ugly, A Beginner's Guide to Deicide, Men of Steel, Bike Wreck, and Vampire Cowboy Trilogy. He also began writing for Marvel Studios in 2016.

Foothill has assembled a stellar cast of actors for this production, including professionals drawn from the greater Bay Area, as well as students from the college. The cast includes: Gwyneth Forrester (Agnes), Fatima Mejia (Tilly), Niko Raiyawa (Chuck), Seton Chiang (Narrator), Amara Snow-Miller (Lilith), Jaime Melendez (Kaliope), Thomas Times (Orcus), Gwyneth Price Panos (Vera), Austin Valliani (Steve), Omer Ben-Uzi (Miles), Brenda Lopez (Evil Tina), Reagan Harwood (Evil Gabbi), and Abbey Eklund (Farrah). The ensemble includes: Sarah Hamidi, Sidney Kenny, Jonathan Wright, Daniel Cardenas, and Kyle Welsh.

Director Bruce McLeod joined the Foothill College Theatre Arts department in 2007 for the opening of the Lohman Theatre. He is responsible for the Theatre Technology Program and serves as the department's Production Manager and Technical Director. He has worked professionally at several theatres including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was the first technical director and production manager for TheatreWorks, where he oversaw dozens of works, including site-specific productions of Cabaret (downtown Fire Station, now Avenidas), Macbeth (Baylands Nature Center) and Everyman (various churches). He has a long career as a set and lighting designer in the Bay Area including work with Center Rep, West Bay Opera, Magic Theatre, Eureka Theatre and TheatreWorks. Several of his set designs have received recognition, including the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Sunday in the Park with George and a Theatre Bay Area nomination for the recent Marry Me A Little at TheatreWorks. At Foothill he has directed critically acclaimed productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Our Town, and It Can't Happen Here.

The extensive battles depicted in She Kills Monsters will be staged by fight choreographer Carla Pantoja. Resident fight director for Teatro Visión (San Jose) and Woman's Will (Oakland), Pantoja's work has been seen on stage throughout the Bay Area at Cutting Ball Theater, Killing My Lobster, Teatro Visión, Woman's Will, Palo Alto Players, Broadway West, East LA Repertory Theater, as well as school productions around the Bay Area. She was the fight coordinator for two films: Evolution the Musical and Monsters Don't Get to Cry. She is also an instructor of theatrical combat for California Shakespeare Theater and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, teaches stage combat and acting as an adjunct faculty for Hartnell Community College, and has assisted Master Teacher Gregory Hoffman in classes at the American Conservatory Theater's MFA program. She is a teaching artist through Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and Each One Reach One. Carla received her theatrical combat training through the British Academy of Stage & Screen Combat, Academy of the Sword, Action Actor's Society.

The rest of the production team for She Kills Monsters includes Seafus Chatmon (set designs), Kathleen Qiu (costume designs), Mikaela Rangel (lighting designs) and Yuseke Soi (special prop designs).

Photo credit: David Allen

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Chuck (Niko Raiyawa - left) describes his D&D prowess to Agnes (Gwyneth Forrester)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Kalliope (Jaime Melendez), Tilly (Fatima Mejia), and Lilith (Amara Snow-Miller)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Orcus (Thomas Times - center) is the Overlord of the Underworld, fanned by minions Sidney Kenny (left) and Jonathon Wright (right)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Orcus (Thomas Times - center) the Overlord of the Underworld describes his favorite TV show to the bewilderment of Tilly (Fatima Mejia - left), Lilith (Amara Snow-Miller) and Kalliope (Jaime Melendez - right)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Orcus (Thomas Times), Lilith (Amara Snow-Miller), Tilly (Fatima Mejia), Kalliope (Jaime Melendez) and Agnes (Gwyneth Forrester) get ready to battle monsters as the Narrator (Seton Chang- rear)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Orcus (Thomas Times), Lilith (Amara Snow-Miller), Tilly (Fatima Mejia), Kalliope (Jaime Melendez) and Agnes (Gwyneth Forrester) get ready to battle monsters as the Narrator (Seton Chang- rear)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Chuck (Niko Raiyawa), Agnes (Gwyneth Forrester), and the narrator (Seton Chang) watch as Tilly (Fatima Mejia)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Farrah the homicidal fairy (Abbey Eklund) attacks Orcus (Thomas Times)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Evil Gabbi (Reagan Harwood, left) and Evil Tina (Brenda Lopez, right)

Photo Flash: Foothill Theatre Arts Presents SHE KILLS MONSTERS
Agnes (Gwyneth Forrester), Evil Tina (Brenda Lopez), Orcus (Thomas Times), Evil Gabbi (Reagan Harwood), and Kalliope (Jaime Melendez)

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