Virtual Theater Comes to Rutgers–Camden With “She Kills Monsters”

By Tom McLaughlin

Theaters may be closed, but for Rutgers University–Camden theater students, the show must go on.

The Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts will present “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms,” by Qui Nguyen, for three online performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 to Saturday, Feb. 13.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and can be purchased at showtix4u.com/events/18480. Patrons will be sent an access link that becomes active a half-hour prior to showtime for the show purchased.

“She Kills Monsters” is a comic adventure into an imaginary realm of demon queens and lords of the underworld. Agnes, an average cheerleader, is thrown into the world of cosplay and Dungeons and Dragons as she searches for her lost sister. This version of the play, specifically adapted for virtual performance, is full of visual inventiveness and dazzling swordplay. “She Kills Monsters” is a funny and moving play about acceptance and understanding, friendship and heartbreak, and having the power to fight those very real monsters that hold us back from being fully human.

“In the midst of the pandemic, with classes unable to be in person and everyone in isolation, I wanted to find something for our theater students to do that speaks to them, and find a way to make a human connection in a time when we are bereft of it,” says director Damon Bonetti, a part-time lecturer of theater at Rutgers–Camden.

Bonetti notes that it has been a year since the department has produced a full show, and the actors deserve the opportunity to test their skills and have their craft seen by their peers, friends, and family.

Bonetti has directed numerous Rutgers–Camden theater productions, including last year’s “Hamlet,” the last fully produced show on the Walter K. Gordon Theater stage before all in-person events were canceled due to the pandemic. He is also co-founding artistic director of the Barrymore Award-winning Philadelphia Artists’ Collective.

Video editing is by Robert Emmons, an assistant teaching professor of theater and head of the filmmaking program at Rutgers–Camden; scenic elements are by James Mobley, an assistant teaching professor of theater. Senior theater major Austin Ginsberg of Cherry Hill is costume designer and sophomore theater major Eilis Skamarakas of Bellmawr is stage manager.

The cast is led by Rachel Aspen of Deptford as Agnes. Other Rutgers–Camden students in the cast include: Taylor Eccles of Colonia, Sean Tomasetto of Cherry Hill, JaRell Johnson of New Brunswick, Syd Johnson of Kinnelon, Micah Racquel Addison of Burlington Township, Zaria Webb of Philadelphia, Keith Schlapfer of Point Pleasant, Chase Dannely of Tuckerton, and Sonñet Holley of Haddon Township. Two recent Rutgers–Camden alumni, Brittany Onukwugha of Willingboro and Sophia Baratti of Marlton, are also in the cast.

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