Behind the mask(ers)

Geeks and nerds unite in ‘She Kills Monsters’

Special to the Union Leader
November 15. 2017 12:59PM
The Central High School Maskers partnered with the Granite State Saber Academy, which is providing all of the stage combat weapons and creating the fight choreography for the student theater group’s production of “She Kills Monsters.” 
If you go...
WHAT: Central High School Maskers in 'She Kills Monsters: Young Adventure Edition'

WHEN: 6:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday

WHERE: McAllaster Hall at Central High School, 207 Lowell St., Manchester.

COST: $5 to $10

MANCHESTER — In a high-octane, dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and ’90s pop culture, playwright Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” is a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

The Maskers Drama Club of Manchester Central High School will bring the show to life Friday and Saturday in McAllaster Hall on the Central campus with two 6:30 p.m. performances.

It’s a romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, with a new edition created specially for high school performing groups.

“She Kills Monsters” tells the story of high schooler Agnes Evans, who is dealing with the death of her younger sister, Tilly. When Agnes stumbles upon Tilly’s “Dungeons & Dragons” notebook, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge.

The play has been called a combination of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” meets “Saved by the Bell” meets “South Park,” with its flashy swordplay, teen angst and bold themes.

“This piece has been equally challenging and rewarding,” said Monsters director Dan Pelletier. “It’s unlike anything the students have worked on previously, and they are all going out of their comfort zones, in a good way.”

Maskers has partnered with the Granite State Saber Academy (GSSA), which is providing all of the stage combat weapons and creating the fight choreography for the piece.

While many of the students have backgrounds in dance, cheerleading, gymnastics or other forms of athletic activity, none has previous experience in stage combat.

They had just four weeks to become proficient in hand-to-hand combat, sword work, and bow-staff techniques.

“She Kills Monsters” is sponsored locally by Double Midnight Comics of Manchester, creators of Granite State Comic Con and MASSive Comic Con.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Double Midnight because their customers are the main target audience for this production,” said Pelletier. “The playwright, Qui Nguyen, has actually premiered a lot of work at New York Comicon instead of in a traditional theater, so we are hoping to draw in a geeky crowd, on top of our normal audience members.”

Pelletier said the production is dedicated to the late Dustin Blake, who was a junior at Central High School and president of the drama club when he unexpectedly died this past summer.

“Dustin was the heart and soul of the Maskers,” Pelletier said. “He inspired so many people with his vibrant performances, and was never afraid to try new things.

“(Blake) was looking forward to being a part of this production, and I’m sure he would be joyed with all the ways we are honoring him this year,” Pelletier added.

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