Grace Bromage ’23
Chief Features Editors
The Holy Cross website describes Qui Guyen’s “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” as “the story of Agnes, a popular high-school student whose sister, Tilly, is her nerdy opposite. Agnes’s discovery that she never really knew her sister at all sends her off on an epic journey into the world of fantasy gaming … ‘She Kills Monsters’ is a coming-of-age story that has been redesigned for virtual performance.”
I spoke with two of the performers in the show, Lily Biagini ‘23 (Farrah the Faerie) and Lauren Casey ’23 (Agnes), about their experiences and the process of filming this play in a virtual setting. Casey commented that “we got our scripts in the mail and started with some basic Zoom read-throughs. Soon enough, packages began arriving in the mail with various props and costumes. The amazing Kurt Hultgren and Christine Gougen, along with Joan Townsend, who work in the costume shop even took the time to drive around to some of the cast members’ houses to drop things off. They’re truly amazing. Matt Wasser, in charge of the media design and editing, and his team also put together an incredible final product. We met over Zoom and Skype several nights a week and just filmed.”
On things that they missed about doing an in-person show, Biagini commented that “when you prepare to do a show in person, everyone is a lot closer and there is a warmer atmosphere with people really getting to know each other. There wasn’t the feeling of excitement that comes from going to rehearsal after a long day of classes or the butterflies you get before performing in front of a group of your peers.” Casey echoed this point, saying that “I miss the adrenaline rush on opening night and being able to work directly with my fellow actors, the crew, and director… I miss the camaraderie and the antics backstage.”
Despite missing out on elements of camaraderie and opening-night jitters that comes with performing shows in person, both performers mentioned that there were benefits to doing this show virtually. Biagini said that “the tech team worked hard and did an outstanding job with backgrounds and special effects, which they obviously would not have been able to do if the play was live.” Casey commented that “this virtual process has challenged our creativity and pushed all of us to adapt in real time. My problem-solving skills have gone up overall, and even though I wish everything was normal, I can’t be upset by how this online experience has helped us grow.”
Biagini’s final thoughts on the play were that “a lot of people would agree that performing remotely will never be ideal. But the fact that it was online didn’t stop anyone from giving the show their all. Our director, Scott, did an amazing job. The costumes that Kurt put together were great. I think everyone should consider watching it. The cast poured everything they had into this play, and we are all really proud of how it turned out.” Meanwhile, Casey wanted to remind people that “we theatre folk haven’t gone anywhere. (You can’t get rid of us that easily!) We’re doing everything we can to continue to put out art and creativity into our community, and we’ll continue to do so. … Keep an eye out not just for She Kills Monsters, but also for the Alternate College Theatre Fall show, The Fox (streaming this December).”
You can find “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” (streaming until November 14th) at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/40984 using the password Fenwick. Instead of admissions, the theater department encourages donations to https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/16749/donations/new.