School of the Arts

She Kills Monsters

The Action-Packed Dramatic Comedy, ‘She Kills Monsters’ Comes to Wismer Theatre

She Kills Monsters logo

California State University, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the dramatic comedy She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. Performances take place Thursday–Sunday Nov. 14–17 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, Nov. 16–17 at 2 p.m. in Wismer Theatre. Tickets are available at the University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

She Kills Monsters explores themes of youth, relationships with family, grief and loss through comedy,” said Matthew Teague Miller, director and Department of Music and Theatre faculty member.

After the death of her teenage sister Tilly, Agnes discovers an untouched Dungeons and Dragons campaign in Tilly’s room. In an effort to connect with her sister one last time, Agnes enters the imaginary Dungeons and Dragons world she once mocked. She uncovers levels of her sister that she didn’t know existed in an action-packed adventure filled with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ‘90s pop culture.  

The depiction between the realm of reality (Athens, Ohio) and the imaginary Dungeons and Dragons world comes alive through a collaboration of design elements.

Designers include Jacob Brown (set), Tristan Knox (costumes), Mike Johnson (lighting), Oliver Loll (sound/music) and Andrew Zollinger (fight choreography).

The play takes place in various locations, and costumes differ based upon which world the characters are in. Characters are dressed in typical ‘90s clothing in Ohio. But when entering the game, the costumes become elaborate, as characters are transformed into goblins and the undead. When it comes to the set, there is a piece that lives onstage throughout the whole play. This stone set is reminiscent of Game of Thrones, and includes two-levels with stairs to add elements to fighting locations. Combat scenes make use of swords, axes, blades and daggers.

“This is a theatrical experience people will really enjoy,” said Miller.

Cast members include Zoe Stamos (Agnes), Sydney Baichtal (Tilly), Leif Bramer (Chuck), Thomas Hart (Miles), Kelsey Campbell (Kaliope/Kelly), Marlene Bruce (Lillith/Lilly), Reina McGonigle (Vera/Beholder), Molly Odell (Evil Gabbi/Farrah the Faerie), Julie Ewert (Evil Tina/Narrator), Eric Nguyen (Steve) and Eric Collins (Orcus/Ronnie).

The cast are playing multiple characters in a sense, as their characters have aspects of their personality heightened in the Dungeons and Dragons world. 

“I hope people enjoy the adventure they go on but also appreciate the emotional undertones of the show,” said Miller.

The production is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets for the production are priced at $20 adults, $18 seniors, and $8 students and youth, and are available to purchase at CSU, Chico’s University Box Office, 530-898-6333. Wismer Theatre has limited seating, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

For those who need special seating accommodations, please call 530-898-6333. More information is available online at the School of the Arts website and Facebook page.

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Story by Shelby Casey, publicity assistant, School of the Arts


Additional Information

She Kills Monsters logo

California State University, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the comedic play She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. Performances take place Thursday–Sunday, November 14–17, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, November 16–17, at 2 p.m. in Wismer Theatre. Purchase tickets at the University Box Office or by calling 530-898-6333. Seating is limited and purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

After the death of her teenage sister Tilly, Agnes discovers an unplayed Dungeons and Dragons campaign in Tilly’s room. In an effort to connect with the sister she ignored during life, Agnes enters the imaginary Dungeons and Dragons world she mocked. She uncovers levels of her sister, who was 8 years younger, that she didn’t know existed in an action-packed adventure filled with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ‘90’s pop culture. 

The story is set in Athens, Ohio, in the 1990s. There are 12 characters: 8 females and 4 males. The play aims to bring the game Dungeons and Dragons to life through Agnes’ imagination as she enters Tilly’s fantasy world. To accomplish this, the production includes costuming for the imaginary world and fight choreography. Because of its strong language and mild adult themes, the play’s target audience is adults and teenagers (ages 14–18). 

She Kills Monsters addresses and explores multiple themes such as being queer in the ‘90’s and death through comedy.

She Kills Monsters premiered at the Flea Theater in New York on November 4, 2011, directed by Robert Ross Parker. It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design. In 2012, it won the 2012 GLAAD Media Award and was nominated for the ITBA Patrick Lee Award. In 2013, She Kills Monsters won the American Alliance for Theatre & Education Distinguished Play Award. The play was then revised in 2016.

The Chicago Tribune highly appreciated Nguyen’s incorporation of pop culture.

“Nguyen is a refreshing, break-the-rules writer he has a ready embrace of pop culture, high-school speak and ‘High Fidelity’ cool, and he also has a mission to redeem gaming geeks everywhere…She Kills Monsters, delivers exactly what it promises, is generally a blast.” 

The play received a great deal of praise from critics. The New York Times described it as “Deceptively breezy and rather ingenious…It will slash and shapeshift its way into your heart.” Theatremania wrote, “Packed with action, wit, and a sizeable nerd quotient, the production is a delight from start to finish.”


About the Director

Matthew Teague Miller headshot
Matthew Teague Miller currently serves as producing artistic director of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, a professional equity summer theatre in Clinton, Iowa.  His favorite productions include the Iowa Premieres of Disney’s Newsies and The Bridges of Madison County, as well as Les Miserables, Green Day’s American Idiot, Reefer Madness, Damn Yankees and Recent Tragic Events. Professional directing credits include work at Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, Lincoln Theatre Napa Valley, Timber Lake Playhouse, Triad Stage and others. As an actor, Miller spent three years touring the country with the original Broadway production of Les Miserables, where he worked under Tony Award-winning director Trevor Nunn and Tony Award-nominated director Jason Moore and performed alongside Colm Wilkinson in his final performance as Jean Valjean. Miller received his MFA in directing from University of North Carolina, Greensboro and his BFA in musical theatre from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Miller is a member of Actor's Equity Association and on the Executive Council of Musical Theatre Education Alliance International.