The latest production by the Chelsea High School Theatre Guild is a special one


image courtesy of the Chelsea High School Theater Guild

The Chelsea High School Theatre Guild’s Production of “She Kills Monsters” is a special one for various reasons.

The show will be the last in Chelsea for Guild Director Paige Conway and after two years of having their theater lives impacted by the COVID pandemic it will be a memorable one for the seniors.

To help preview the show and highlight it, the Sun Times News reached out to some of the cast and Conway.

“This show means a huge amount,” said CHS senior Amelia Nelson. “This is also our director Paige Conway’s final show with us, as she’s taken another job in Ohio that is a very exciting opportunity for her. The Guild is very happy for her, but we will of course miss her dearly. This show represents a final hurrah for Paige, and also for us seniors who have been involved since our freshman year. I’m a senior, and my class especially haven’t had the typical ‘theatre experience’ we’d been anticipating due to the pandemic. But we are still grateful we got to do a final show, and it will definitely be one for the books.”

In describing “She Kills Monsters,” Nelson said it is set in the 1990s and tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly.

“She finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery an action-packed adventure in the magical world that was Tilly’s refuge,” Nelson said, who plays Vera, the main character Agnes’ best friend.

“I’m a fellow cheerleader alongside her, but Vera is a punk style teenager who is very independent,” Nelson said of her role. “She is a very hilarious character to play, with the best one-liners!”

In a similar fashion, Conway describes the story this way:

“She Kills Monsters is the story of Agnes, the Average, who is still reeling from the sudden death of her geeky little sister, Tilly, a year ago. On the anniversary of Tilly's death, Agnes finds her sister's notebook, which is a homespun D&D module. In an effort to finally get to know the sister she often ignored, Agnes plunges deep into the world of Dungeons & Dragons. But will this cheerleader be able to hack it? Come with us on this dark comedic journey of '90s geekery, self-expression, and identity, and find out: Can Agnes kill the most important monsters of all?”

CHS senior Katelyn Hackett said “the cast is full of hard working actors, we have been very dedicated to the process and are all really excited about this show. It’s hard to find a balance between having fun and working hard when you have such a wonderful group of people, but we have such hardworking actors that it’s been an easy process to do both.”

Hackett plays Orcus, who she said in the game of D&D is an evil demon overlord of the underworld, “and while I also am in the show, he’s based off of one of Tilly’s best friends who is really just a teenage boy who tries to act tough but is really a little bit insecure, but Orcus is also just wonderful for comic relief. He’s definitely got some great one liners.”

Agnes is played by Caley Plank and Tilly by Shawna Chester.

Conway, who is also the Producer and Fight Choreographer with Rachael Nardecchia as the Technical Director, said the show is good because it means so much to the cast and crew.

“The cast and crew are working really hard on this show!” she said. “There are lots of great fight scenes, and it's exciting to watch. They've taken to the stage combat really well, and are having a great time, on top of producing an excellent production.”

For her, Hackett said, “I’ve been in every single show with the Guild since I’ve been a freshman and it’s been so wonderful to watch the way everyone has grown and just how the guild has grown. This show is such a special one because it helps to show people just how much everything has grown. I have been a part of the student board since I was a sophomore, so I can say it has grown in so many ways and this is just a great script that can be a great inside into the guild and teenagers in general because even though it’s about the 90s a lot of it still stays true.”

When asked about the past two years being challenging ones, so what does this show mean to the Guild, Conway said, “It's been a really tough couple of years.”

We came back to in-person productions in the fall with 'The 39 Steps', which was a lot of old-school, slap-stick comedy, which was a ton of fun, but it still felt a little separated, and we were getting our feet back under us,” Conway said. “This time, with 'She Kills Monsters', there's a little more depth to the script. It has a lot of heart, and the story, at its core, is dealing with some things which are prevalent in our society right now. If anything, I think that has actually helped our cast bond a little more strongly on this show. This show really means something to our students, and I think it's evident in the performances.”

Plus, she said there are sword fights, which are just a ton of fun, and some real teenage humor.

The show is at Wednesday & Thursday, April 13th & 14th at 7 p.m. in the WSEC Auditorium.

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