One of my greatest regrets in life is that I attended Seton Hill’s freshman orientation day.
The reason I regret this is because it happened on the exact same day as the original production of a close friend’s play, entitled Meet Me in the Middle. Like She Kills Monsters, the play was full of awesome outcasts, monster-slaying, soul-searching, and teenage tragedy, all written, choreographed, and acted out by my own friends. And I left after Act I so I could learn about Donut Thursdays at the Commuter’s Lounge. Aren’t I a responsible student? Curses!
Personal anecdotes aside, the great significance of She Kills Monsters is that it transports the audience into the world of the high-school fantasy nerd, and how real, important moments and bonds arise from fictional circumstances. Tilly’s D&D story may be akin to “high-energy” action sequences of “badassery,” but that doesn’t make it less real of an experience (28). The role-playing world Tilly and her friends devote themselves to isn’t any more ridiculous, strange, or inconsequential than the interests of “normal” teenagers, like the cheerleaders or Agnes herself when she was younger. Agnes comes to learn of this divide and voices her epiphany to Vera:
“Her world was filled with evil jello molds and lesbian demon queens and slacker Gods while mine…had George Michaels and leg-warmers. I didn’t get her. I assumed I would one day–that she’d grow out of all this–that I’d be able to sit around and ask her about normal things like clothes and TV shows and boys…” (71-72).
She realizes that indulging in fantasy games is no more strange or ridiculous than obsessing over clothes or TV, and that it was truly a part of who her sister was. Instead of hoping Tilly would “grow out of it” and become “normal,” she comes to learn that she should have accepted her sister for who she was and not brush off her interests as if they were an annoying phase.
Agnes’s realization is the audience’s takeaway: some people aren’t “normal,” and never will be. For some people, fantasy is what helps them cope and connect to the “real” world. The game, or show, or book, or whatever becomes a significant part of their life, and there’s nothing wrong with that. By opening herself to a new world that is just as weird and silly and unexpected as her own, Agnes strengthens the connection between her and her sister, even if Tilly isn’t physically around anymore, and learns to look at people and life in a different way.
In conclusion, this message is one of the reasons She Kills Monsters is a wonderful play. And another reason it’s so wonderful is THE GREAT MAGE STEVE.
(That is me in every game I’ve ever played. RPGs. Super Mario Galaxy. Chess. Monopoly. Hide and seek. You name it.)
Reference is made to the original production of Meet Me in the Middle, written by Aislinn Lowry and Cassie Mica, directed by Aislinn Lowry.
Source: Nguyen, She Kills Monsters