A virtual comedic romp from the University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance will be presented later this month for a six-night run.
Qui Nguyen’s popular comedy-adventure “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” will livestream at 7:30 p.m. nightly Feb. 23-28. Tickets are free for UW students (with a W number) and $5 for all others. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts box office from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at (307) 766-6666 or by visiting www.uwyo.edu/finearts. Box office personnel will provide viewers with instructions on how to access the livestream production.
Directed by Landee Lockhart, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance, “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” tells the story of Agnes Evans, an average cheerleader struggling to come to terms with the death of her geeky younger sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook containing an unfinished campaign, she embarks on a journey of discovery into the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge, trying to connect with her sister one last time.
Specially adapted for online performance, the action-packed adventure filled with unlucky mages, dark elves and homicidal fairies is an homage to the geek and warrior within us, Lockhart says.
“I love that this story thoughtfully examines young teenage culture in a way that few plays I’ve read do,” Lockhart says. “We meet cheerleaders, bullies, jocks and geeks, and all of them are multifaceted characters.”
She was particularly drawn to the story of sisters Agnes and Tilly, whose differences caused frequent clashes between them while Tilly was still alive.
“Agnes’ journey to better understand her sister’s life and challenges is probably my favorite element of the script,” Lockhart adds.
Because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns and productions going online, Lockhart notes that producing performances for audiences has been different this season.
“The transition from live performance to streaming and video work has presented a number of challenges, but it also has allowed us to incorporate technology into our work in new ways,” Lockhart says. “All of the actors have done amazing work in interpreting their characters, and I’m really proud of their performances. For many, this is their first experience with camera work.”
This production is particularly notable for its high level of student collaboration, with students serving as choreographer, associate scenic/props designer, technical director, dramaturg and Dungeon Master.
While the play revolves around the characters and their adventures in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, ultimately, it has a deeper meaning and context, Lockhart says.
“This is a story of friendship, love and loss,” she says. “It is a meditation on how we make peace with what we cannot change and learn to forgive ourselves, forging new pathways in the process.”