Average Agnes has a problem: she has stumbled into the post-mortem world of her D&D obsessed sister, Tilly, where dragons and other monsters abide. Channeling her inner bad ass, Agnes embarks on an action-packed adventure to defeat them.

Filled to the brim with pop culture and Dungeons & Dragons references, geek comedy She Kills Monsters delves into the world of fantasy role-playing games.

“It’s set in the world of fantasy,” playwright Qui Nguyen said. “It’s set in the world of, like, geeks.”

She Kills Monsters’ main mission is to make its audience laugh. However, the play also explores issues of isolation and sibling relationships.

“I think there [are] lots of great, quippy one-liners,” director Robert Ross Parker said. “But it’s not about quippy one-liners. You know what I mean? It’s about people with a problem who are fighting like hell to try and solve that problem.”

Nguyen and Parker, the original founders of Vampire Cowboys (theater company that most recently produced 2010’s Alice in Slasherland), are known for creating movie-like plays that are geared toward a less traditional theater-going audience.

“You know, when you think of the traditional theater audience, it tends not to be geeky, 18-to-35-year-olds that spend more time doing gaming than they do going to [the] theater,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen and Parker met in college. Both bored with traditional theater, they began devising ways to incorporate film on the stage.

“We were actually always advised not to do this,” said Nguyen, reminiscing about the advice his college colleagues gave him. “And so, of course, being the bullheaded young artists that we were, we were like, ‘No, we will find a new audience that will like this.’ And so that’s basically what kind of motivated us.”

Unlike traditional plays, Nyugen and Parker utilize various special effects and complicated choreography on stage.

“A lot of traditional plays are technically simpler and these plays always have a lot going on,” Parker said. “There are a lot of locations; there are a lot of characters; there are a lot of quick changes. There’s pandemonium–you know, organized pandemonium–backstage.”

Another difference between Nguyen’s plays and more traditional theater is that they are primarily meant to be funny, though they often have darker underlying themes.

“The author who wins the Nobel Prize every year is seldom a writer of comedy,” Parker observed, “which I always think is unfortunate.”

“I certainly think my outlook on life is essentially comedic as opposed to tragic,” Parker added, “because I think a tragic life would be a lot less fun. I think when terrible things happen to nice people it’s horribly funny.”

Normally, Nguyen and Parker cast their plays with a group of actors that have been with Vampire Cowboys since the beginning, 10 years ago. This time, Nguyen and Parker teamed up with The Flea’s resident acting group, The Bats.

“[The Bats] are such an enthusiastic group of people and The Flea is a great environment,” Parker said, “and they’ve been super supportive throughout the process. So it’s been a super experience.”

After doing a few workshops with The Bats, Nguyen wrote She Kills Monsters, creating character roles to fit specific skill sets of the group’s actors.

“Qui really listens to his actors and has a wonderful and uncanny ability to write roles that are perfect to showcase his actors,” commented Satomi Blair who plays Agnes.

Blair hopes to work with Nguyen again.

“Basically, Qui is awesome,” Blair commented. “I would do ridiculous things to be in another show of his and work with him and Robert again.”

Allison Buck, a year-old member of The Bats and actress who plays Tilly, has enjoyed the challenge of getting into a geekier role.

“Because I was not myself an RPG player, I didn’t really know about Dungeons and Dragons,” Buck admitted. “My brother was actually into that stuff. I played World of Warcraft with him sometimes which was actually really fun.”

However, though she may not be into Dungeons and Dragons, Buck still considers herself to be a geek.

“I think I’ve probably gotten geekier as I’ve gotten older,” Buck said. “Because I think as you get older you get more comfortable with yourself.”

“Everyone is geeky in their own special way,” Buck added.

See She Kills Monsters at The Flea through December 23. For more information, go to www.theflea.org. Stay tuned for Vampire Cowboys’ upcoming The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G: The Unrated Version. Go to www.vampirecowboys.com for more information.

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