MILLBURN, NJ - On Nov. 15 and 16, the Millburn High School Limelight players will perform their annual fall drama. This year, the play is She Kills Monsters.
The play focuses on a young woman, named Agnes, who comes to terms with her sister's death through the unlikely avenue of a dungeons and dragons style role-playing game.
This play is a bold choice for not just Millburn High School, but any high school. It focuses on sexual identities, women, fantasy, and frankly, high school. Most plays performed in high schools have students playing characters far older than they are, in more adult situations. In contrast, She Kills Monsters is about youth and changing perspectives.
The cast has been rehearsing since the end of September. For around 3 times a week, students stay after school for 2-3 hours.
Before rehearsal started, however, each cast member was tasked with character study. They had to figure out who their character was, beyond surface characteristics plainly stated in the script.
Cast member, Jacob Pollack said he posed himself questions about his role, Orcus, such as “what object would he be? What sound? And so we really make sure we fully invest into the characters. You can’t say your lines right if you don’t actually know who you’re playing.”
Director, Paul Weinstein said “part of my job is getting them [the cast members] to see the undercurrent that maybe they don’t think about at first that really gets what I believe is the purpose of the line across. Not that they’re wrong or that I’m necessarily right.”
In addition to these rehearsals, students must complete their homework and attend other extracurriculars.
When asked how he manages to keep everything balanced, Will Berezin said “what I normally do is just go home after rehearsal and just do all my homework as quick as possible. It’s honestly not that bad.”
One of the many aspects of this play that make the play unique is the stage combat. For the first time, Millburn High School hired a professional from New York, Michael Haggins, to come professionally train the cast in combat once a week.
That’s not where the innovation ends. Weinstein also said “There’s some different sorts of technical things we haven’t done before. Like we’ll be doing stuff with projections and different sorts of media, there’s some animation. There’s some cool stuff I’m excited to see what comes together.”
At their Friday rehearsal, the atmosphere among cast mates was relaxed. They came ready to work. At 3:15, they went inside the auditorium to speak with Jessica Cain, the costume designer, before launching into their scene blocking for the day. The students viewed the play as a fun activity, not something they were forced to endure.
All cast members and Weinstein expressed excitement about seeing the audience react to this play.
Sofia Sanfilippo said, “it’s a really cool show that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to… I’m excited for everyone to see how hard we worked and I really hope they can see how professional we’re trying to be with this.”
She Kills Monsters will be performed on Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets mat be purchased online at the following link: https://mhsnj.booktix.com/cart.php?action=show_pers&show_id=6&show_sec=92517f00656e56c6.