WATCH NOW: UW-Parkside to stage ‘She Kills Monsters’ | Leisure

On previous maps of the world, when the cartographer ran out of identified areas for instance, the phrase “Here Be Monsters” could be used — typically with colourful dragons for instance the purpose.

The similar goes for the newest theater manufacturing on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

“She Kills Monsters” takes place in two realms: the actual world of Agnes Evans, a trainer who’s packing up her childhood house after the deaths of her dad and mom and teenage sister, and “Newlandia,” the world created by her sister’s creativeness.

Creating these worlds on stage permits Ken Phillips to “play with all these new toys to bring together the three elements of sound, lighting and projection.”

Phillips — the lighting designer for “Monsters” and the manufacturing supervisor for the college’s theater division — has loved engaged on the present he calls “a little campy and a lot of fun.”

He’s utilizing video projections to “change the mood and change the environment at the drop of a hat,” he stated, whereas standing in entrance of the ever-evolving Main Stage Theater set.

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The set, nevertheless, isn’t only a video backdrop.

“This is live theater,” Phillips defined. “We can change the look an infinite number of times, but we don’t want to just show videos. If we did that, people would just go home and watch TV.”

Instead, the “Monsters” set is a mixture of video projections and large puppets.

“We have a giant hanging hair bun,” he stated, pointing to an unfinished globe-shaped puppet. “And we’ll have a five-headed dragon, too.”

Phillips stated he regarded on-line at different productions of “She Kills Monsters” and “no one else I’ve seen has done this level of production work. I’m excited to show this off.”

Meet the forged

Lynn Bryant performs Agnes, who at first of the present discovers she didn’t actually know her youthful sister, Tilly.

After Tilly is killed in a automobile accident, Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons pocket book and is catapulted into an action-packed journey within the imaginary world of “Newlandia” that was Tilly’s refuge.

Bryant herself has performed the fantasy role-playing recreation Dungeons & Dragons “and I enjoyed being able to be another character,” she stated of the sport, which pertains to performing in theater, too.

This present, she added, “is the first time I’ve been in combat on stage. I love it. You learn the fight choreography — and you just let go.”

Agnes’ journey can be an emotional one, Bryant stated.

“She realizes that she missed out on getting to know her sister and that this is her last chance to find out more about her sister’s life, through this game and this other world.”

Arwen Goodwin has no expertise with Dungeons & Dragons however performs a D&D character named Orcus within the present.

“He’s the Demon Overlord of Newlandia,” Goodwin defined. “But he’s really a slacker in the real world and not at all like that character. He’s the comedic relief and adds a slapstick element to the show.”

The play, Goodwin added, “takes you through the whole range of emotions: A laugh, a fight, another laugh, another fight. It really makes you care about these characters.”

For Erin Dillon — who performs Lilly — the attraction of D&D “is you can be whoever you want to be.”

The similar goes for collaborating on this manufacturing.

“I get to fight with my friends,” she stated with fun. “We go on a quest and are part of a team. The characters are all in this adventure together.”

Maddison Crecchio’s character within the play’s D&D recreation is Kaliope Darkwalker, described as “a Dark Elf who looks like a supermodel and is incredibly strong.”

In the actual world, she’s Kelly, a highschool pal of Tilly’s, who makes use of a wheelchair.

“She gets to be completely different in Newlandia,” Crecchio stated.

That’s a part of the enchantment of “She Kills Monsters” for Crecchio.

“This is such a fun show to act in and to watch,” she stated. “There’s stage combat, wild visuals and emotional elements.”

Tilly’s journey

As Tilly, the teenager who created Newlandia as an escape from her troubled real-world life, Briana Livesay has the tough job of enjoying a personality who’s useless earlier than the play begins.

“She lives on through the world she created in Newlandia,” Livesay stated of Tilly. “And in that world, she gets to live as her true self.”

Tilly’s love of D&D adventures and something labeled as nerdy or geeky is barely a part of her journey. Tilly was dealing with challenges along with her sexuality and bullying at highschool.

“Tilly is an interesting character to play,” Livesay stated. “Her sexuality is not a cliché and is not played that way.”

As the story unfolds, Agnes discovers that her sister was the sufferer of bullying however that she additionally had many associates who cherished and supported her.

“We’re excited to show off this big production,” stated Fabrice Conte-Williamson, the UW-Parkside professor who’s directing “Monsters.”

He can’t await audiences to see the visible components of the present, together with the video projections, the fight and that five-headed dragon.

“It’s been a very positive collaboration with everyone on such a big production,” Conte-Williamson stated.

In addition to the razzle dazzle options of the staging, he’s additionally completely happy to direct a present with LGBTQ+ characters.

“The queer element of the show is very interesting,” he stated.

UW-Parkside’s theater division, he added, “strives to produce plays written by playwrights who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or belong to other historically underrepresented communities.”

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