The Bedford High School Performing Arts Department is going virtual with its fall production.
The students plan to present “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms,” a fast-paced dramatic comedy set in the world of fantasy role-playing games, by award-winning contemporary playwright Qui Nguyen.
Performances via live stream are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets at $10 per adult and $8 per student will be sold through the Performing Arts Department website.
The play was originally created and performed as a live theatrical production in 2011, premiering at the Flea Theatre in New York City. In 2020, the playwright revised and adapted the show for online productions, giving school and community groups a safe and ingenious way to bring the show and its thought-provoking premise to audiences in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“She Kills Monsters” is the story of average Ohio teenager Agnes Evans coming to terms with the death of her younger sister Tilly, a free spirit who felt most comfortable in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.
When Agnes finds Tilly’s D&D notebook, she must navigate her way through an online fantasy world of murderous faeries, menacing ogres, and an evil gelatinous cube, until she can finally appreciate the “girl-nerd” sister she never really knew.
“Rehearsing and performing this show via Zoom has been a fun challenge for our students and staff,” said director Katrina Faulstich. “I am so proud of them for always bringing their best selves to rehearsals and crew meetings after spending their whole school day on Zoom. The students have connected so well to the characters in this show, and just being able to do theater in some capacity has been therapeutic for the students during this challenging year.”
The show has a different cast each night. Faulstich and the students encourage audience members to purchase tickets for both performances, to enjoy the impressive depth of talent among BHS students.
Senior Jillian Guetersloh, who plays Till on Saturday, said, “There’s definitely not as many opportunities to goof around and just hang out during Zoom rehearsals as normal ones. But everyone involved pretty much hit it off immediately, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of that chemistry still comes through when acting over Zoom.”
“Even though there’s definitely some challenges with doing a virtual play — mainly dealing with technical difficulties and bad Internet connections — theater is a big part of how I cope with the unpredictable or scary things about life,” said senior Isabel Hon-Anderson, who plays Agnes on Friday. “I’m super grateful to Ms. Faulstich for deciding to still put on a show. I think this show could help others with the same thing, and I really encourage people to see the show.”
To bring the play to life online, the student crew has been preparing virtual backgrounds, composing music, recording sound, and other special effects, creating props, and working on publicity and promotional materials.
“Despite our strange circumstances, I’m glad I’m getting to contribute to a play in whatever form that takes,” said senior crew member Rosalind Lowen.
Junior Sarah Wirth commented, “My favorite part about being the stage manager for “She Kills Monsters” is seeing our community continue to thrive online. It’s definitely been difficult not being able to communicate in person, but I think that we are a very resilient group of people, and I am proud to be a part of it all.”
With sharp humor, themes of death and grief, and occasional mild language, “She Kills Monsters” is appropriate for middle schoolers and up. The show runs approximately one hour and fifteen minutes without intermission.