By Sarah Schultz
Director Erika Sasseville and Black Dirt Theater have brought a rousing, ribald romp to the Hastings Middle School stage.
As the stage lights illuminate, Narrator Caitlin Weber weaves the first threads of the tale. Her words are illustrated through puppetry on an old school overhead projector. The audience is immediately whisked away to a world of myth and magic.
This show boasts a strong ensemble. They breathe life into crusty red goblins, they blunder about as oafish bugbears, they stab and get skewered in hilarious and delightful ways. This talented cast makes every moment compelling.
The cast deftly handles some tricky material, particularly Kate Munce as Agnes. In her grief and desperation, Agnes lashes out. She is inappropriate, tactless, and homophobic- even confronting a student. Munce doesn’t shy away from these emotions and behaviors or try to soften them. She is Agnes, and she shadows her into the darkness. Because the performance is so grounded, it holds the audience. They don’t condone Agnes’s behavior, but they’ve seen where she came from and they’re rooting for her. Agnes’s tumultuous journey makes the final victory that much sweeter.
Joren Skov’s fight choreography brings action and excitement to the story. From the minor scuffles to the outright brawls, the stage combat is clever and cleanly executed.
The final boss fight does not disappoint. Five gargantuan dragon heads besiege the imperfect hero in an epic ultimate battle. They writhe and twist, their five sets of fiery eyes each burning a different color.
Be you a nerd or a jock, a big sister or a little sister, a paladin or a Tiamat- She Kills Monsters will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget.
She Kills Monsters is presented by Black Dirt Theater at Hastings Middle School in Hastings, MN. Performances are March 24th, 25th, 31st, and April 1st at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased from http://www.BlackDirtTheater.com or at the door. This production contains adult language and themes and is suitable for ages 16+.