She Kills Monsters: A Play About Grief, Sexuality, and Dungeons & Dragons

Meredith Williams

Arts and Entertainment Editor

From Wednesday, October 4, to Sunday, October 8, the Tennessee Williams Center showed the play She Kills Monsters: the world where geeks are cool, dragons are slain, and the reality of sexuality is explored. 

Sarah Lacy Hamilton, the director of She Kills Monsters, summarized, “…we follow Agnes as she tries to reconnect with her sister who has passed away through playing this Dungeons and Dragons game that she wrote.” Hamilton added, “I think it’s to show how joy and imagination can be a revolutionary act. We see through the Dungeons and Dragons world that Tilly has created that she’s created this beautiful, almost utopian kind of landscape where queerness is celebrated instead of being squashed, where she and her friends can be their full, true selves and where good always conquers evil.”

At its heart, She Kills Monsters is a celebration of empowerment and identity, where the characters of the play struggle with their own insecurities, desires, and fears. Following heroic battles and quests, the characters of She Kills Monsters find the courage to confront these inner fears and embrace their authentic selves. 

The Tennessee Williams Center’s rendition of She Kills Monsters hoped to provide Sewanee students with a new perspective, “being bold enough and courageous enough to dream and to imagine that future and to find joy even in the darkest times. That, to me, was a message that I thought would resonate with our students and the Sewanee community,” said Hamilton. 

She Kills Monsters was an outstanding show with impeccable performances by the cast and crew members. Agnes (Sofia Tripoli C ’26) was portrayed with great depth and authenticity, which drew the audience into her quest for self-discovery, and her sister Tilly (Victoria Ryan C ’26), both in her real-life portrayal and her alter-ego as a D&D character, was captivating and multifaceted, revealing the complexities of adolescent life and imagination. 

Simultaneously, the supporting cast, including the fellow adventurers in Tilly’s D&D campaign, shined with their witty one-liners and distinct personalities. The acting performance in She Kills Monsters truly demonstrated the talent of the theater department and Sewanee’s students. 

But She Kills Monsters could not have happened without the production team behind the play. The set design, sound effects, lighting, costumes, and props are just some of the essential elements of the play that brought it to life. The outstanding work of the crew needs to be recognized. The lighting and sound board added depth and atmosphere to the performance. At the same time, the set design seamlessly transitioned between the real world and “Newlandia” (the D&D world), immersing the audience in the vivid landscapes of Tilly’s imagination. 

The costumes and makeup, especially those of the fantastical creatures and characters, were a visual delight. The attention to detail in bringing these mythical beings to life was commendable, adding to the overall immersive experience of the play.

She Kills Monsters was a fun experience for the cast and crew due to the fantastical creatures, fight scenes, and a throwback to the ’90s nerd culture. Tripoli said, “My favorite part has probably been learning fight choreography because I’ve never been in a play before where I’ve done fight choreography, and there’s so much fighting in this play.” 

“One of the really important messages is being present in the moment because Agnes really regrets not being there for her sister while she was alive, ” Tripoli said. 

This play, a blend of comedy, fantasy, and profound emotional depth, took the audience on an electrifying journey into Dungeons & Dragons, where reality and fantasy intertwine.

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