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Students learn how fighting is a lot like dancing in ‘She Kills Monsters’ at CSU

Students sharpen fight skills to prepare for production of ‘She Kills Monsters’

Columbus State University theater students have been sharpening their stage fighting skills to prepare for their production of 'She Kills Monsters'. The play, written by Qui Nguyen, opens March 1 at CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex.
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Columbus State University theater students have been sharpening their stage fighting skills to prepare for their production of 'She Kills Monsters'. The play, written by Qui Nguyen, opens March 1 at CSU's Riverside Theatre Complex.

Maggie Silvey has a phobia of eyeballs.

But taking on a new acting role means her head is encased in a giant version of one.

At a recent photo shoot, Silvey was stabbed as a photographer recorded the moment. And, because he needed pictures from several angles, she did it again and again.

Welcome to Columbus State University‘s production of “She Kills Monsters,” opening March 1 at CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex.

“It’s a lot of fun, you have to get past your fears,” Silvey said. “I’ve never been in a fight scene before so having to learn how to do all of that was really exciting and a lot of fun.”

Silvey and other cast members have been busy working with faculty members, learning fight choreography and sharpening their stage fighting skills to prepare for the production

“This is an excellent opportunity for our students here at Columbus State because there is a lot of fight choreography in our production,“ said Krystal Kennel, CSU theater professor and director of the play.

Kennel said there are six or seven large set pieces in the production that revolve around fight choreography. She said colleague David Turner served as the production’s fight choreographer, and Bachelor of Fine Arts acting faculty have also worked with cast members.

“It’s a lot like dancing in a way that you have to be very specific,” said Ansley Lynn, who portrays Tilly Evans. “But this is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was little, so this is kind of a low-key dream come true.”

Timothy Villalovas portrays Mage Steve in the production. Villalovas said he is currently taking a stage combat class. He said the skills needed can be difficult to learn, and are just one component of his performance.

“It’s a matter of incorporating your whole body into whatever you’re doing and I think that as actors it’s important to do that anyway,“ Villalovas said. “And so it’s really just about bringing all of you into what you’re doing, and just like you would remember lines or dance moves you’re remembering fight choreography.”

The play, written by Qui Nguyen, tells the story of character Agnes Evans who two years after the death of her family, finds a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game module written by her now deceased sister Tilly. Agnes, assisted by self-proclaimed D&D expert Chuck, journeys through the D&D world encountering dragons, fairies, demons and evil cheerleaders on her journeys.

Jordan Battle portrays Agnes. Battle said her character seldom leaves the stage, making the role physically demanding.

“It’s been hard to balance between getting into the acting and getting into the toughness of the character, but it’s been a great challenge for me as an actress,“ Battle said.

Battle said the play takes audiences on an emotional roller coaster, but also touches on universal themes.

“You laugh, there are some opportunities to cry,“ Battle said, ”and honestly it’s about family. And it’s about holding onto the ones you love and not sacrificing yourself for the sake of others.”

“She Kills Monsters” opens March 1 at CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex. Performances are scheduled for March 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 7: 30 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (706) 507-8444 or visiting the box office at CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex at the corner of 10th Street and Bay Avenue. The box office is open during weeks of performances Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Go to www.ledger-enquirer.com for video from the play.

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