Sydney Spencer, Staff Reporter
Since last Friday, Jacksonville State University has hosted four showings of She Kills Monsters, a play by Qui Nguyen and directed by Dr. Michael Boynton. This new contemporary and cutting-edge play helps set the bar at an even higher level for JSU’s top-notch Drama Department.
With many opportunities to go see it, the reviews for the show have been outstandingly positive. This play has become popular around JSU’s campus because it is relatable for young high school and college students facing the challenges of growing up.
The play is a wacky comedy about two sisters that takes place in the 1990’s. The younger sister is a gaming nerd, while the older is an English teacher in her mid-twenties. Unfortunately, the younger sister passes away from a car accident and leaves the older sister guilty because she feels as if she did not truly know her. The older sister decides to play the younger’s Dungeons and Dragons campaign. While playing the game, the older sister and the younger sister are alongside each other defeating monsters and meeting other creatures, allowing the two to learn more about each other along the way.
With all the action going on, the main purpose of the play is to be an empowering message for women. Female actors had a lot of involvement with the play from the main actresses to the fighting scenes. Some of them had to hit the gym and learn how to fight with real swords. During production, the main situation they were concerned about the most were the technical difficulties.
According to Dr. Boynton, “two days leading up to showtime things were falling apart, but came together when the lights came on.”
There was nothing but positive critique and feedback after shows. After the Saturday show, there was a great talkback where special guests from Birmingham from the (MCAC) Magic City Acceptance Center who enjoyed the show as well.
The Magic City Acceptance Center is a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth and their allies, ages 13-24 who can come be themselves and where everyone is celebrated for who they are. This correlates to the play because the older sister at the end of the play finds out her younger sister was a closeted lesbian and never spoke to her about it. The older sister feels awful because she was not able to be there for her sister as someone she could talk to about her sexuality.
After the show, the audience got to ask questions and critique. All actors did well during their performances says Boynton. He adds, “I feel like every actor in the show grew. Even my first-year students and students who had no clue what they were doing.” He also feels like his senior students who plan on acting for a living did an amazing job as well. He mentors them by telling them “to deepen their technique and hone their skills. They have learned more ways to approach character and prepare themselves for the professional world.”
Not only have the actors been working hard, but also the technical crew and faculty who are behind the scenes. Everyone altogether have put in at least forty hours a week and some of them even more time just to make sure their job is perfected. There is a lot of work that goes in to making a show what it is. On top of rehearsals, memorization, classes, jobs and trying to have a social life, the cast still managed to put on a tremendous production. All of the cast worked really hard and created a great working atmosphere. Boynton explains the importance of teamwork in casts and how this cast made themselves a family which made it easy for everyone to get along and focus on the main goal of a successful production. Even with minor elements not fixed before showtime, the play still had a triumphant turnout.