In US Play, Cast Members Slay with Stage Combat Skills

by St. Andrew's Communications Staff
The cast of the Upper School fall play, Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters,” is looking to slay this weekend with an arsenal of performance skills, including stage combat.
A relatively new show, “She Kills Monsters,” first performed in 2011, centers around high school senior Agnes Evans as she plays a Dungeons and Dragons module created by her younger sister, Tilly, who has recently died.
 
To prepare the cast for the show’s fight scenes, Director and Theater Teacher Ritchie Porter brought in Casey Kaleba, a Helen Hayes-nominated fight choreographer who worked on the Rorschach Theatre’s 2014 production of the show.
 
Megan Reilly ’18, who plays Tilly in her tenth St. Andrew’s production, said she’s always wanted to learn sword fighting and called stage combat “the next best thing.”
 
“The previous shows I’ve been in have never had stage fighting other than a punch or a kick,” she said. “Getting to be able to work with the other cast members in that way - fighting them - is just a lot of fun.”
 
Through this production, all cast members have opportunities to stretch themselves as performers. Ensemble members are monsters and narrators, reading humorous stage directions in one scene and sparring with Agnes in the next.
 
“It makes you feel more important,” said Cameron Behram ‘21, who is a monster/narrator in his fourth St. Andrew’s production. “I’m actually trying to swing my sword at the main character. It makes a difference if I’m there or not - not really with other shows. In this, the ensemble members are almost the backbone of the play. The entire game is 100 percent focused around monsters.”
 
“She can’t kill monsters if there are no (actors to play) monsters,” Reilly added.
 
Cameron Reeder ’19, who plays Lilith/Lilly in her seventh St. Andrew’s production, said students should come to the show because they will appreciate its many layers.
 
“It is a comedy but it also touches on so many important topics that I think a lot of kids could be dealing with now,” such as loss and healing, she said.
 
Behram added that even if audience members haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons before, there will be a character in the show they can identify with.
 
“All the high schoolers will enjoy the comedy, and how they can relate to the characters, who all are in high school,” he said. “As parent, you get to reflect on past and get the (90s) references…it’s written in such a way that it will almost appeal to everybody.”
 
Performances are in MacDonald Hall on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, October 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door: $3 for students and seniors and $5 for general admission.
 
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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.