FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2014
Contact: Peter J. Kuo
Artists at Play presents
Staged Reading of
She Kills Monsters
by Qui Nguyen
Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 5 pm
Woman's Club of South Pasadena
1424 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030
Tickets: $15 - $20
LOS ANGELES, CA — Artists at Play presents a staged reading of She Kills Monsters, a comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games. She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans, who is dealing with the death of her younger sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, she stumbles onto a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all. Andy Lowe directs She Kills Monsters, named one of the Best 10 Plays of 2013 (TimeOut Chicago, Edge Boston).
“Dungeons & Dragons is rooted in the earliest oral traditions of storytelling, the mythologies upon which cultures, society and communities were built. Its friendship, camaraderie, imagination and values all wrapped in an exchange of words and roll of the dice. As a player, I always thought a Dungeon Master is in essence a storyteller who carries the players through a journey, much in the same way that a theatre artist leads his audience. The leap of faith that a Dungeon Master asks of his players is not so different from the leap of faith an actor or director asks of his audience,” said Lowe, whose company Chinese Pirates Productions produced Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog: Live! in San Diego in 2011.
“She Kills Monsters is a play that celebrates that very relationship we have with our modern mythologies. It’s a funny, charming, bittersweet and human story of grief and loss that revolves around the sometimes ridiculous and silly world of role-playing fantasy games. In doing so it shows that our geeky obsessions are more than dice and childish escapism,” he added.
The cast includes Brian Archer (GAM3RS, the Play), Julia Cho (Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), Paul Dateh (YouTube PaulDateh), Annalice Heinz (GAM3RS, the Play), Claire Kaplan (Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog: Live!), Genevieve Lee (YouTube Cherry Bomb Comedy), Jane Lui (Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog: Live!, YouTube Luieland), Albert Park, Alden Ray (Better Luck Tomorrow), Cynthia San Luis and NRaca.
“There is something interestingly inherent about D&D where a player must choose and envision their avatar -- their character alignment, their allegiances, their race. It’s the opportunity to cast yourself against type and within that context is a wonderful allegory for exploring the diversity of our real world,” said Lowe. “Every great quest story seems to cling to this theme -- a rag tag group of disparate individuals who absolve their differences towards a common goal. Whether it’s an unlikely friendship between an elf, a dwarf, a King, a wizard and a halfling; or a girl, a scarecrow, a tinman and a lion. The worlds of our speculative fictions have been celebrating the power in diversity for centuries. So having a diverse cast isn’t revolutionary to me. In fact, it’s rooted in tradition.”
Artists at Play is a theatre producing collective dedicated to staging work new to Los Angeles. Founded in 2011 by Julia Cho, Peter J. Kuo, Stefanie Lau and Marie-Reine Velez, the company’s mission is to tell diverse stories that are accessible to audiences.
"She Kills Monsters has the kind of theatricality that jumps off the page,” said Velez. “Throughout this journey of a grieving sister, we find a lot of humor, epic fight scenes, sardonic monsters and, ultimately, a celebration of life. Role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons are popular because they rely so much on the player's imagination -- you get to create new worlds and fight monsters! And not only that, but cleverness and wits can go toe-to-toe with braun. And to see these elements in play form … it's refreshing to come across a theatrical piece that tickles the geek sensibilities in such a delightful and heartfelt way.”
"I enjoy work that searches to bridge the trappings of so called ‘high-art’ with the quirkiness and fanciful notions of folk and so-called ‘pop-art.’ I love exploring the most frail and human aspects of our experience through the heightened lens of the fantastical, not just because superheros are cool, but because the idea of exceptional beings frame our own moral strengths and human frailty through the lens of our ideals -- how we choose to see the very best and the worst parts of ourselves,” said Lowe.
The reading will be presented on Sunday, April 6, at the Woman's Club of South Pasadena at 5 pm. Another play, Marabella by Boni B. Alvarez and directed by Peter J. Kuo, will be presented at 2 pm. Each reading will be followed by a talkback. Pre-sale tickets are $15 and includes dinner, hosted bar and dessert. Readings are complimentary. Tickets purchased at the door will be $20. Free parking is available on the street.
Qui Nguyen (Playwright, She Kills Monsters) is a Brooklyn-based writer, fight choreographer, and co-artistic director of the OBIE award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company. His scripts include Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Bike Wreck (produced at Youngblood and Metropolitan Playhouse); Trial By Water (produced at Ma-Yi Theater/Queens Theatre in the Park); Aliens Vs. Cheerleaders (Keen Teens); and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel, Living Dead in Denmark, Stained Glass Ugly, A Beginner's Guide to Deicide, Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, and Soul Samurai. Additionally, he is a resident playwright of New Dramatists, a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, co-director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, an alumnus of Youngblood, and an advanced actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. He has an MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University.
Andy Lowe (Director, She Kills Monsters) Finalist of the California Young Playwrights and Founding Artistic Director of the Asian American Repertory Theatre, Andy has been a producer of events and writer, director and/or producer of over 50 theatrical productions throughout San Diego. Receiving two mayoral commendations, he was recognized as one of 2001's "Top 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under the Age of 30" by Political Circus Magazine. From 2007–12, Andy served as “Theatre-in-Residence Program Coordinator” for the La Jolla Playhouse, while developing projects as producer/director of ChinesePirateProductions.com including a nationally recognized stage adaptation of Joss Whedon’s “Dr.Horrible's Sing Along Blog” (2011). Andy is an advisor for Gam3rCon San Diego and current Production Manager for East West Players.
About Artists at Play
Artists at Play, founded in 2011 by Peter J. Kuo, Julia Cho, Stefanie Wong Lau and Marie-Reine Velez, is a collective of Asian American creative professionals who came together to curate quality theatre in Los Angeles. Along with Associate Producer Nicholas Pilapil, they present theatrical productions missing from the local landscape to tell the stories of communities underrepresented in theatre. Artists at Play debuted with a production of Lauren Yee’s Ching Chong Chinaman (Los Angeles premiere) and followed up with A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Los Angeles premiere), which received critical acclaim including an Ovation Recommendation and GLAAD Media Award nomination. Last year, they presented another Los Angeles premiere, a production of Michael Golamco’s Cowboy Versus Samurai.
Information for Calendar Listing
Artists at Play Readings
Sunday, April 6, 2014
2 pm Marabella by Boni B. Alvarez
4 pm Dinner reception and hosted bar
5 pm She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen
7 pm Dessert reception
Women's Club of South Pasadena
1424 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030
For dinner, hosted bar and dessert reception
$20 at the door