Family bonding brings Dungeons and Dragons action and adventure to life

By Jason Mount

Audiences will be able to peek into the world of geeks in the ’90s with a stage production of “She Kills Monsters” at the Yvonne Theater from Oct. 26 through Oct. 30. The play follows the story of 25-year-old Agnes as she discovers the world of Dungeons and Dragons in an effort to find out more about her sister.

Associate Professor of Theater and Director Trent Blanton said he chose the play because it gave the actors a chance to learn fight choreography from Fightmaster Ian Rose, who worked on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” on Broadway, and because the play itself is “cool as hell.”

“The fights added a lot of challenges for this production,” Blanton said. “We have to spend lots of time on them.”

Junior musical theater major Sophia Introna, who plays Agnes, agreed that the fights were challenging, but were also some of the highlights of the production.

“I kind of just approached it with an open mind,” Introna said. “I felt like doing this play was an entire master class on learning fight choreography, and it inspired me to dig deeper into it.”

Introna was also presented with some difficulties in coming into her character, as well as learning movements for the show.

“My character goes through a development,” Introna said. “At first she starts off not into it… she’s very average and normal. Finding where she grows throughout the play was challenging, and it still is.”

She also said that her character of Agnes is different from Introna herself.

Agnes, a school teacher, is described as someone who is “very average” and “easily fits in” by Introna. The character starts to change after an event happens, which Introna did not want to reveal, and Agnes becomes more open and is able to let go of things from her past.

Introna explained her various methods of preparing for her character. She was able to delve into Agnes by analyzing the script multiple times, using methods of movement she learned at Rider, paying attention to how she behaved as her character in the moment and even created a playlist for her character.

“We have references from the play, so ‘Cranberry’s — 10,000 Maniacs.’” Introna said, looking through her playlist. “I got some Smashing Pumpkins because that’s also referenced in the play. I also have some ’80s stuff like Blondie, because my character grew up in the ’80s. I also have some stuff from the early 2000s that I think Agnes would listen to.”

Another aspect of the unique production highlighted by Blanton was how complicated the technical details of the show are.

“This is the most technically complex show I’ve ever done at Rider,” Blanton said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”

Introna hopes that audience members leave the production thinking that “Dungeons and Dragons is the coolest thing ever,” and that they will “embrace geeks everywhere.” She also hopes that audience members will be touched by the story and that they’ll be open to new things just as her character learns.

When asked what audiences should expect, Blanton gave an energetic explanation.

“They can expect a loud, high-octane thrill ride,” he said.


Originally printed in the 10/26/16 edition.

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