Black Dirt Theater will perform “She Kills Monsters,” Qui Nguyen’s comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, March 24-April 1 at Hastings Middle School. “She Kills Monsters” is a high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and 90s pop culture. 

Hot on the heels of the hit dinner-theater musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” Black Dirt Theater returns to the stage of the Hastings Middle School to share this heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all on March 24th, 25th, 31st and April 1st at 7:00 p.m.

“She Kills Monsters'' has been on Black Dirt Theater’s radar for a few years. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Dirt pivoted and started doing radio shows on KDWA when they learned of “She Kills Monsters.”

Rather than doing it for the radio, they decided to add it as a future stage production. Now, nearly 3 years later they’re thrilled to finally bring it to the stage. Black Dirt alum and accomplished regional theater director Erika Sasseville takes the reins as director for this adventure.

Winner! 2013 AATE Distinguished Play Award - “She Kills Monsters” tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge.

Following a casting call held in October 2022, 17 performers were selected, and under the guidance of fight choreographer Joren Skov, sword fighting and stage combat workshops began. The production team wants the scenes within the game to be epic, and showcase each character’s unique fighting style and skill, and the best way to accomplish that was lots of practice and time.

Every weekend from November to February, the group met at the Hastings Middle School cafeteria for a series of intensive workshops to hone their skills and learn the fight choreography.Portions of the show take place in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, a fantasy board game populated with warriors, sorcerers, elves and monsters.

To take on the task of bringing to life the variety of monsters on stage, Black Dirt Theater looked to technical director Steven Read, propmaster Ann Perry and customer Andy Cimpl. Along with renting some complex pieces, the group is also fabricating many of the monsters from scratch and using a variety of puppeteering styles to give them life.

Scene rehearsals started mid-February, with blocking and the memorization of lines taking about 3 hours each weeknight. Because “She Kills Monsters'' is set in the 90’s, the cast of characters are reminiscent of characters from tales like Tamagotchis, Blockbuster Video, Goosebumps, AOL, Toy Story and Titanic.

Black Dirt Theater strives to make fresh, expressive theater - and sometimes that means their shows are not suitable for younger audiences. This production contains adult themes & language and is suitable for ages 16+.

Many Black Dirt Theater alums have returned to slay the beasts of “She Kills Monsters,” but they are also excited to welcome a cadre of newcomers, some traveling from as far as Apple Valley. With many performers taking on multiple roles, the cast of “She Kills Monsters” features: Zack Anderson, Cole Bell, Connor Dean Burrell, Arrow Coppenbarger, Matt Ervin, Zach Filkins, Ella Hendrickson, Steven Hernandez, Jennifer Jacober, Sean Jones, Walter Jung, Taylor Leone, Ashley Marek, Katie Munce, Sadie Nelson, Sylvia Schwantes, Tom Sorenson, Kade Steiner, Matthew Tiede, Caitlin Weber, and Jordan Wente.

The creative team for “She Kills Monsters” includes; Director: Erika Sasseville, Fight Choreographer: Joren Skov, Assistant Director: Henry Southwick, Stage Manager: Jordyn Hondel, Volunteer Stage Manager: Kade Steiner, Production Manager: Ryan McCoy, Tech Director: Steven Read, Light/Sound Manager: Mark Kieffer, Soundboard Operator: Gabe Hubbard, Props/Painter: Ann “Perry”, Costumer: Andy Cimpl - as well as - volunteers Terri Dean, Beth Schofner, Stacy Sarette, Hatalie Hoidal and Suellen Weber. For Black Dirt Theater: Artistic Director: Robin Starch, Marketing: Thomas Bonneville.

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