Tag: She Kills Monsters

JSU Drama receives eight nominations for roles in She Kills Monsters

(Photo Courtsey of JSU Drama) 
JSU’s production of She Kills Monsters netted eight KCACF nominations.

Sydney Spencer, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: An article appeared in the November 8, 2018 issue of The Chanticleer reporting the nomination of just one member of the Drama She Kills Monsters for competition in The Kennedy Center American College Festival. The Chanticleer staff were unaware of the other students and faculty that had been nominated until after the printing of this issue. We apologize to everyone who took part in the production of She Kills Monsters, and congratulate the whole cast, crew and staff on their achievements.

Jacksonville State University’s Drama Department has received recognition once again for their play, She Kills Monsters, resulting in eight nominations for competition in the Kennedy Center American College Festival.

The Kennedy Center American College Festival is a national theatre program involving twenty thousand students from colleges and universities nationwide.

Not only were actors nominated for their performances, but the Director, Assistant Director, Assistant Stage Manager, Draping and Tailoring, Projections, and Dramaturgy all received the honor.

Chloe Barnes and Jessika Holmes were two actresses nominated for their roles. Barnes plays Tilly Evans, while Holmes portrayed Vera as well as several puppets throughout the play.

Ansley Gayton was nominated for the projections of the play. Kelby King was nominated for the draping and tailoring of costumes. Shauna Steward and Rebecca Weaver received nominations for their roles as Assistant Stage Manager and Dramaturg respectively.

The job of a Dramaturg is to research and analyze every aspect of the play. When asked what elements of She Kills Monsters played a part in her dramaturgy Weaver says, “Almost every part of the play became a part of my dramaturgical work.”

Weaver says she has been working on the play since June.

Dr. Michael Boynton and Eric Wilkerson were both nominated for their roles as Director and Assistant Director. When asked if he would change anything about the production of She Kills Monsters, Boynton struggles with the question. “That’s a hard question to answer as a director, because a part of me wants to say it was brilliant, amazing, finished and done. I would not change a thing, but that would also be a lie.”

It’s the first nomination for the majority of the nominees to the festival. The Kennedy Center American College Festival prides themselves in diversifying nominated students to participate in their festival.

After being on the radar of the Kennedy Center for five years, the Drama Department of Jacksonville State University has received nominations and awards for the past two to three years.

JSU student honored for role in She Kills Monsters

Sydney Spencer , A&E Reporter

It has been a week since the final show of She Kills Monsters, and one of Jacksonville State University’s students has been nominated for her role to compete in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her name is Chloe Barnes and she is a junior Drama major with a concentration in performance.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a national theatre program involving twenty thousand students from colleges and universities nationwide annually. For fifty years and counting, the Kennedy Center has been profound for making the quality of college theater performances astounding and enhancing every actor’s skill set and ability to the best they can.

Chloe began acting her junior year of high school.

When asked why she started acting,  Barnes says, “I had always been into the arts such as band and dance, so I knew I wanted to be involved in art classes when theatre classes were introduced to my school.”

For the production of She Kills Monsters, Barnes feels it went really well.

“The director, cast, crew, designers, and everyone involved worked extremely hard to make this show happen and I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish,” Barnes said.

Going into the show of She Kills Monsters, Barnes just wanted to put on the best performance she could and ended up exceeding expectations. Her nomination for the festival has brought light to her true talent.

When asked what this nomination means to her she says, “I am very honored by this nomination. I went into the production not only hoping people would love it, but that everyone would be touched by the story and truly get something out of it. The fact I received a nomination for my role is just the cherry on top.”

The message of the play is surrounded by female empowerment and equality. Barnes plays the younger sister of Agnes Evans, Tilly, who passes away in a car accident. She fights alongside her sister in a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game she created before she passes away. This is how she and her sister are able to create a bond and get to know each other better after not being close while she was alive. As the game goes on she ends up revealing a personal lifestyle her sister knew nothing about, which makes her sister feel guilty for not being someone she could lean on when she needed to talk.

Barnes is looking forward to taking on more roles as she knows acting is something she would like to pursue as a career. 

New play a ‘Monster’ success for JSU Drama

(Photo Courtsey of JSU Drama)
JSU’s production of She Kills Monsters was by all accounts a success for JSU Drama.

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.

She Kills Monsters Kills

Taylor Mitchell, A&E Editor

This past weekend JSU’s Drama Department opened its 2018-2019 season with their production of She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. The play is an interesting one about a woman named Agnes Evan who lives and always has lived in the small town of Athens, Ohio. Agnes’ family, including her younger sister Tilly, have recently died in a car accident, leaving Agnes alone and with the realization she never really got to know her sister. Agnes discovers a binder containing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign her sister had written, she decides to play through it in hopes of finally get to know her sister. Along the way, Agnes not only gets to know the world and characters her sister and her friends made, but also who her sister was as a person.

Since this was the first time I have seen the She Kills Monsters in any form I feel compelled to talk first about how wonderfully it is written. The writing, in equal parts, had me snorting with laughter and my friend sitting next to me in tears. It is a very personal story, but with that in mind it never takes itself all that seriously. Many characters possess a snarkiness to them that always keeps them grounded and never overly dramatic. It also seems to truly its subject matter. As a Dungeons and Dragons player myself, (oh no looks like that secrets out) this play felt like a love letter to the game I love. The set up for the twist at the end is especially brilliant as it had me second guessing my own understanding of the game. Most people probably didn’t even notice it, which makes it a wonderful bit of foreshadowing. The script also just has wonderful amounts of heart that, when put together with the humor, weaves together a story that hits exactly like it should.

The way JSU Drama brings it all together is both ambitious and complicated. The show required a large amount of specialized pieces to work. There was puppetry, projection, and sword fighting; all of which were wonderfully done and you can just feel all the work that went into them. The acting was also amazing. Chloe Barnes and Allison Lawley are magnificent as the leads Tilly and Agnes. They bring both wonderful comedic timing as well as really showing just what loss can do to people. Lawley does a very good job at portraying just how lost Agnes is and how confused she is about what she is doing and feeling. Barnes is wonderful as the sometimes braggy and sarcastic, but also incredible insecure Tilly. The supporting cast is also altogether wonderful. I specifically enjoyed  Tiffany Jenkins as Lilith/Lily and Christian Watts as Chuck. They both brought fun and energy to their parts that was incredible enjoyable.

All and all the play was fantastic. If you got to see it I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and if you didn’t I sincerely hope you make it to another show. If JSU Drama can bring the same quality to their other shows as they have this one, we are in for a very good season.


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JSU prepares for production of She Kills Monsters

Sydney Spencer, A&E Reporter

The Drama Department of Jacksonville State University will be hosting a highly anticipated play this semester. The play is called She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen and will be directed by Dr. Michael Boynton in the Stone Center. There will be four opportunities to go see it from October 26-29 and all shows start at 7:30 p.m. except for the Sunday showing at 2:30 p.m.

This is a new, contemporary and cutting-edge play. It is very popular amongst high school and college students due to its highly relatable subject matter and the genre of the play. The play is part wacky comedy and part adventure. It is set in the 1990’s and at its core is about two sisters. The older sister leads an average life as English teacher in her mid-twenties, while the younger sister is a super nerd. The younger sister ends up passing away in a car accident and the older sister realizes she was not as close to her as she could have been and starts to feel guilty.

The older sister gets the idea of playing a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game that her sister created to get to know her better. Her younger sister is a character in the game, and she lives it out in her fantasy that she gets to fight monsters alongside her. This is how both sisters begin to bond and get to know each other better. Along the way, comedy ensues with them befriending a dark elf, a demon queen and a master of the underworld. They also fight monsters and evil cheerleaders while progressing through the game.

Factors that play a part are the key stereotypes of nerds and gamers. There are a lot of women involved as well. The majority of the play is an empowering message for women. All women in the play had to work out, train, and some even had to learn how to use a sword. The fight scenes are displayed with a lot of action involved as well.

When interviewed, Dr. Boynton explains how the play is “one of the most technically complicated shows we’ve ever done.”

The production is overwhelmed with all they have to get done from puppetry, sound effects, original composed music, videography and other special effects. Between actors and the production crew, they all have put in forty hours a week to perfect their craft and prepare to make this play the best one yet. Tickets are on sale at www.jsu.edu/drama.

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