Monsters Kill it at the Box Office


Courtesy of Chavez Alumni

Cast celebrate with CCHS students

For some, gaming is a safe haven to escape reality and all of its burdens. In the humorous action-filled play She Kills Monsters, Tilly Agnes resorts to the game Dungeons & Dragons for the same sole reason. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

 She Kills Monsters illustrates the story of how a high school teacher copes with the death of her family. Agnes Evans (Sabrina Davila), a “normal” girl by all accounts, seeks closure following the death of sister, Tilly (Karissa Viernes). While packing up her sister’s belongings, Agnes stumbles across a custom made Dungeons & Dragons quest, written by Tilly herself. Determined to get to know Tilly after her death, Agnes embarks into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the virtual world her sister sought comfort in.

Although all actors and actresses alike performed well, a handful took their acting beyond the standards. Sabrina Davila, who played Agnes Evans, was indisputably one of them. She expressed the emotions of her character with such a raw, powerful tone that the audience  themselves could feel the pain of Agnes’s loss. Another actress who excelled at playing their role was Kayla Rafanan, who played the sassy school guidance counselor and Agnes’s best friend, Vera. She portrayed Vera’s personality perfectly, rolling her eyes at students asking for assistance and prolonging hyena-like sarcastic laughs — she undoubtedly served as the comedic root of the play and did not disappoint when it came to making the audience laugh. Anali Ayala also took on her character with precise skill. Representing a brazen, ferocious Demon Queen, she ruthlessly scowls at opposing forces and creates a sense of dominance with her prominent resonance. There were, however, some who did not render their characters to their full potential. Some of the actors and actresses did not exhibit much emotion and spoke in a monotonous tones, almost as if they were reading directly from the script. Otherwise, the majority of the actors and actresses represented and portrayed their respective character satisfactorily or better. 

There were several enjoyable scenes displayed throughout the play, though perhaps the most entertaining acts included the presence of Vera (Kayla Rafanan) and Steve (Daniel Castanon, III). These two consistently provided a comedic relief to the audience. Vera’s sassy retorts and exaggerated laughs provoked laughter throughout the crowd, and Steve’s geeky image and demeanor follow suit. His appearances were often random and in the midst of a tense or serious situation, constituting an even more humorous effect. The general plot and transitions from reality to in-game, however, were somewhat muddy. It was unclear when Agnes was and wasn’t playing, and there seems to be some holes in the execution of the storyline. The audience are immediately shown that Agnes has possession of Tilly’s folder rather than her uncovering it while rummaging through her possessions. It is also unexplained how Agnes was able to communicate with Tilly through the game or how she revived there in the first place. The play appeared to jump through combat scenes rather quickly. There were only a few displays of battles until the audience were presented the ending act of Agnes slaying the dragon, briefly introducing and ending the climax of the show.

There is a clear recurring theme that appears throughout the play: appreciate what you have before it’s gone. It provokes nostalgia and reminisce of one’s childhood, and prompts the audience to create and cherish happy moments with their loved ones. Although this drama revolves around a humorous and geeky-like approach, its message is expressive and touching. As people come to watch this program, they will surely feel the desire to appreciate and enjoy their time with those who are dear to them while it is worthwhile.

This show is rated PG-13, aiming towards adult and teen audiences. In the play, there are subtle adult jokes that are exchanged and a broad representation of the LGBTQ+ community. I would recommend this performance to the public who enjoy dramatic comedies with a hint of geek, and are mature enough to watch scenes of homosexuality. All in all, although this show may not be suitable for everyone, it was indeed entertaining and made the audience shed tears in both heartache and laughter.


Scale of 1-5 Lightning Bolts: 

She Kills Monsters receives: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

Critic Biography:

Alexcia Soth is a junior currently enrolled in Cesar Chavez High School. She enjoys expressing and approaching matters in a creative way. She is especially fond of musical and artistic entities and is always seeking to innovate something original. In any given task, she is sure to incorporate her imaginative and inventive abilities.