A Love Letter to the Hidden Superhero in Us All

Oct. 1, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) theatre department will kick off its 2018-19 season with “She Kills Monsters,” written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Laura Standley, MCLA associate professor of theatre. The production will feature Nguyen’s immersive, fantastical writing and the work of guest artist and Berkshire resident David Lane, a painter and puppeteer who will use his expertise in foam techniques to construct costumes, weaponry, and puppetry to build a “Dungeons and Dragons” universe.

“She Kills Monsters,” which will be performed in Venable Theatre on the MCLA campus, will open on Friday, Oct. 19, with additional shows on Oct. 20, 26 and 27. All shows will begin at 8 p.m., with matinee performances taking place at 2 p.m. on Oct. 20 and 28. A talkback will be hosted after the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 27.

According to Lane, the play offers him the opportunity to renew his interest in one of his favorite childhood games, “Dungeons and Dragons.”

“The play is like a trip down memory lane for us 40-somethings who grew up with it, and I’m having a blast going through the old manuals coming up with designs,” Lane said. “There’s going to be all manner of puppet monsters, cosplay armor and swords, and evil cheerleaders and demon under lords. The foam is going to let us bring the most outrageously fun characters to the stage!”

The play centers on the “oh-so-average” Agnes lying in the wake of her totally weird sister Tilly’s death, Lane explained. Agnes embarks on a quest to understand her sister by delving into the world of Tilly’s own design – a world complete with hostile fairies, aggressive monsters, awkward high schoolers, and swords. Her story unfolds as the line between reality and the new badass worlds’ blur and Agnes comes closer and closer to understanding her sister – if she first can avoid the bugbears.

The production relies heavily on the Dungeons and Dragons world to emphasize the journey Agnes goes on – one that leaves an important message to us all. Amanda Gilmore ’20, who plays the role of Agnes, said, “What makes Agnes so relatable is her flaws. She has made mistakes and openly admits to them. Everyone experiences the ‘I wish I could have known how good I had it’ or the ‘I wish I could turn back time’ feeling at some point in their life.”

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call MCLA’s box office at (413) 662-5123, or go to

Lane is a painter, writer and theatre artist who lives and works in North Adams and teaches performance and classes in creative practice at Siena College in Albany, N.Y. He is a two-time Jim Henson Foundation grant recipient for his original play, “The Chronicles of Rose,” which tells the story of Rose Valland, who helped to save countless European paintings from being lost forever during World War II.

This past summer, Lane directed the Third Annual Berkshire Lantern Walk, a community festival of light, in collaboration with the New England Puppet Intensive and Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Last year, he was a co-creator and the lead designer of “Iinisikimm,” an illuminated, night-time puppet performance in celebration of the return of Buffalo to Banff National Park, Canada.

In 2016, Siena College produced Lane’s original clown play, “The Painting,” which was selected to be presented at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region One. He studied drama at the University of Calgary with Clem Martini and improv guru Keith Johnstone, and earned an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

For more information about Lane, go to

The Theatre Program at MCLA develops innovative theatre artists prepared for careers in theatre and graduate study. In the intimate, culturally rich setting of the Berkshires, students hone their craft through intensive studio training and hands-on experience, within the context of their broader liberal arts education. Opportunities for practical experience abound, from courses in acting, directing, design and production to working alongside a faculty of talented professionals in our award-winning production season. On stage and in the classroom, theatre students at MCLA make theatre of the highest quality, as they explore the rich tradition of this unique, multi-disciplinary art form.

For more information about “She Kills Monsters” and MCLA’s theatre program, contact Standley at or (413) 662-5486, or Diane Scott, or (413) 662-5349, or go to

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.​

For more information, go to