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“She Kills Monsters’” lead actors share insights 

Behind the scenes at She Kills Monsters

Viterbo’s Conservatory for the Performing Arts is putting on another spectacular show this fall called “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen. The storyline holds a powerful, dramatic comedy yet steps into the world of fantasy. “She Kills Monsters” will be shown November 17, 18, and 19 at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts – Lyche Theatre in downtown La Crosse.   


Preparation started months in advance as auditions took place in spring 2023, and handfuls of talented students in the fine arts program tried out for the lead roles. The main characters are Agnes Evans, and her sister Tilly, who sadly passes away. Agnes is played by junior acting major, Ryan Dettbarn, while Tilly is played by senior acting major, Anna Martinson. Both Dettbarn and Martinson also have dance minors. These two students certainly have their time to shine along with the rest of the crew.   


 Having a lead role is a big responsibility. When asked how it feels being the lead role in “She Kills Monsters” Dettbarn responded, “It’s really exciting. This is a dream show for me and a dream role. So, to get this opportunity was incredible, and to get to work with such amazing people both on and off stage is amazing. I mean, I’m blown away by the talent of our creative team and our cast, and it’s been such a wonderful journey and experience.”   


Martinson added, “Well, it’s so much fun. It’s great to have this experience here because I know everyone in this program is insanely talented, and it’s so much fun to get to work with all of these insanely talented people. It’s a little stressful because Tilly exists only in the D&D world in this show. I’m involved in a lot of the sword fighting that happens and so, it’s a lot of sword fighting to remember, but it’s been so much fun. It’s really rewarding.”   


Having a lead role can also come with difficulties on and off stage. Dettbarn and Martinson give insights on what they believe is the hardest part of having a lead role. “I would say that just having so much going on in terms of there being so many different working parts. So, making sure that I know my lines, that I know where I’m supposed to be at any given point, to also support my fellow cast members and make sure they’re not like ‘Ryan where are you? What are you doing?’ So, just kind of keeping everything organized and making sure that I’ve allowed enough time for myself mentally to decompress after rehearsal. And review what we did and be like, okay, here are my next steps for tomorrow,” said Dettbarn.   


Martinson explained, “It really depends on the role. But I feel like with this role, it’s partially because I have so much fighting that I have to keep track of throughout the whole show. But it’s also like if you’re a supporting character when you have a couple scenes, you can come on stage, say a funny joke, and leave. And that’s a lot of fun because there is some character work you can do but you don’t have to stay on stage for hours on end and make sure that your whole storyline is reading the whole show.”   


Dettbarn and Martinson, along with the rest of the crew, are excited to share and perform this show for the crowd. “She Kills Monsters” tickets can be purchased at the Box Office on the first floor of the Fine Arts Center or online for $25. With a valid student ID, students from Viterbo can use their student discount to buy tickets at a lower price.   


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About the Contributor
Gretchen Cortez
Gretchen Cortez, Arts and Entertainment Editor
I'm a 5th year senior from La Crosse Wisconsin. My major is Ethics, Culture, and Society with a focus in...
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