Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
M.F.A. Directing Candidate Elena Velasco discusses her current project at Imagination Stage
The word “geek” draws to mind many images – pocket protectors, tapped glasses, and the notorious game of Dungeons and Dragons. Though intended by its originators as a derogatory term, the idea of the classic “geek” has been embraced heartily by playwright Qui Nguyen. Nguyen pioneered “geek theatre” with his own company, Vampire Cowboys, yet his work, She Kills Monsters, addresses far more than the average nerd and her D&D quest. Delving into the much needed discussion about LGBT recognition, She Kills Monsters is a warning that words can be weapons, and sometimes those who wield the mightiest blow are the closest to us.
This is what makes She Kills Monsters so compelling; we are reminded that words can wound, but that we are more powerful than words. It asks each of us to embrace who and what we are. To love and to be loved demands that others respect what is different. As we have explored the issues of bullying, in particular the targeting of gay teens, the IS Student ensemble members have created deep character histories. This has raised our awareness of our own subtle complicity with the isolation of the child (or adult) who finds that s/he is an “other.” We can be the gatekeeper or the guardian. As the characters of SKM play Dungeons and Dragons, it proves to be not merely an outlet, but a domain which empowers the outcast, making this world bearable.
We all deserve a world where we belong. I’m blessed to be surrounded by students who do not merely create theater, but harness the power of the arts to change this world.
Elena Velasco, Director
She Kills Monsters, Presented by the Acting Conservatory (Graduating class of 2015), written by Qui Nguyen, runs April 24-26 at Imagination Stage.