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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Theater Production Receives Award

The+cast+of+%E2%80%98She+Kills+Monsters%E2%80%99+posing%0Aduring+the+production.
Courtesy of Sholten Singer
The cast of ‘She Kills Monsters’ posing during the production.

A newly-awarded production strived to defy theater stereotypes, the director of the play said.

“‘She Kills Monsters’ was remarkably special,” said Leah Turley, assistant professor of theatre performance and director of the play. “It also is about theater no longer being stuffy.”

The Marshall School of Theatre and Dance’s Fall 2022 production of “She Kills Monsters” was anonymously nominated for a BroadwayWorld West Virginia Award.

The nomination turned into a celebration when the production won the 2023 “Best Direction of a Play Award,” naming Turley the main recipient.

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The BroadwayWorld West Virginia Awards recognizes community, educational and regional professional theater productions across the Mountain State, Turley said. Marshall Theatre falls under the educational sector.

“She Kills Monsters” explores the story of a sister (Agnes) after the death of her parents and older sister (Tilly). Agnes discovers Tilly’s fantasy world within her hidden Dungeons and Dragons notebook.

Turley said the production’s themes of death, sexuality and coming-of-age made it an unconventional show for Huntington.

“There has to be a sense of pride in having the guts to do a play like ‘She Kills Monsters’ in Huntington, West Virginia, where a number of people would have read the script and said, ‘There’s no way,’” she said. “West Virginia deserves to see ‘She Kills Monsters’ as much as San Francisco, as much as New York, as much as D.C.”

Turley went on to say, “Thinking that our audiences can’t handle stuff like that is what landed us in this position in the first place.”

She believes it is important to tackle difficult subjects—like the ones portrayed in “She Kills Monsters”—on the stage.

“Theater is meant to be a reflection of society, and that includes every single part of society,” Turley said. “If we want to be truly reflective of humanity, that includes all the messy parts.”

Student actress Nikki Riniti, who played the character of Tilly in the play, said that the show was unique in both its community impact and nature. She said wearing a full armor suit and performing sword tricks made the role of Tilly special for her.

“It was one of the most profound shows,” Riniti said. “It was one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever done.”

Like Riniti, student actress Candace Maynard, who portrayed Evil Tina and Farrah, said the play marked new territory for the University program to explore.

“I think that ‘She Kills Monsters’ really sparked a new era for Marshall theater,” Maynard said. “I can’t wait to see what effect that has in the future productions.”

Both Riniti and Maynard applauded Turley for her work directing “She Kills Monsters.” Riniti said that Turley takes the time to connect with her casts.

“She is just one of those directors that makes sure that every person is seen,” she said. “Everything is very personal.”

Maynard said that Turley’s way of directing is unique and one that is overwhelmingly deserving of the award.

“Leah Turley is my favorite director that I’ve ever had,” she said. “A lot of directors will try to take charge of everything and micromanage every single little move and choreograph every single little movement, but Leah Turley understands that artists are artists.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Davis, News Editor
Sarah Davis is a sophomore from Hurricane, West Virginia, studying broadcast and multimedia journalism. In addition to her experience with The Parthenon, Sarah wrote for Charleston Gazette’s FlipSide during her senior year of high school and has been featured on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Vital Signs, a health talk show hosted by Dr. Richard Rashid. She is also involved with Baptist Campus Ministry, where she serves as secretary. Sarah enjoys reading, traveling, shopping and playing tennis in her free time. She is also an active member of her local church. Sarah aspires to work as a multimedia journalist and dreams of making it big someday.
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