She Kills Monsters kills it at the Performing Arts Festival

Courtesy of Touria Salvati

Courtesy of Touria Salvati

Maria Tkacz, Staff Writer

This year, Princeton Day School’s spring production had a personal student touch. Ava Nusblatt and Sophia Bernardi centered their senior project on a play, codirecting it with Theater Director Stan Cahill. “We’re excited to put the show together and hope that many people who are interested come out to see it!” said Sophia Bernardi before the show’s premiere.

The 2016 spring play, She Kills Monsters, has a unique story. “It’s basically about a girl who is obsessed with the game Dungeons and Dragons. When she dies, her older sister, who didn’t know her very well in real life, starts playing the game to get to know her better and learn things about her character that she put into the game,” said Bernardi.

The play is both comical and enthralling, with a sincere message behind its humor, making it a production unlike those usually performed at PDS. Yet the play’s distinctive nature also brought about obstacles that are rare to the PDS theater. “The process has been different because there are a lot of very fantastical things that are hard to put into a show,” said sophomore Nate Jones, who played the role of Orcus, the former overlord of the underworld. Combining stage combat and transitions from the real to virtual world, She Kills Monsters prompted a different rehearsal process, as well as new challenges for the cast. “But we’re a very weird group of people, so we can take on a very weird show,” said Jones.

Before performing, the cast rehearsed two to three days a week, with Nusblatt, Bernardi, and Mr. Cahill overseeing the process. With the play being a senior project, a lot of commitment and dedication was required on both Nusblatt and Bernardi’s parts. “Besides the rehearsal time, which we’ll be at school for, we’ll be working on behind the scenes production, like sound, lighting, all that kind of stuff,” said Bernardi before the show’s premiere. The girls, with input and assistance from Mr. Cahill, even handled casting. “About half of the cast is people that we’ve already worked with before in PDS productions, and the rest are people that are new to PDS theater. It’s proven to be less difficult than I thought it to be working with new actors,” said Nusblatt.

“The spring show is really a space for us to step out of the box, and this show is weirder, crazier and more different than anything we’ve ever done before,” said Jones.