Bards are artists first and foremost, and they practice magic just as they practice song, drama, or poetry. They have a clear sense of how people perceive reality, so they master charm magic and some illusions. Sagas of great heroes are part of a bard’s repertoire, and most bards follow the example of many fables and become skilled in a variety of fields. A bard’s artistic ability, knowledge of lore, and arcane might are widely respected, particularly among the world’s rulers. Art and magic share a sublime beauty, and, as a bard, you seek the place where the two meet. You might be a naturally talented wanderer who casts impressive spells almost instinctively, a student of a bardic college who learned ordered systems of magic and epic poetry, a warrior skald who mixes skill at arms with thundering music, a dashing performer known for putting on a good show even for your enemies, or a perfectionist who seeks the consummate formula that blends art and magic into a higher force. A steady rhythm beats in the back of your mind as you brandish your sword. Your eyes and ears pick up the motion of the villains that surround you, and one glance tells you everything you need to know to defeat them. You whistle three staccato notes, letting your allies know the symphony of battle is about to begin.
My class is Bard! Good to know! Find out your D&D class online here!
We’ve already established that you can’t write a play called SHE KILLS MONSTERS without having some pretty serious monster action. Qui Nguyen’s script is peppered with TSR’s baddest beasts – but summoning a monster on stage is a whole other ball game from writing it into a script.
Enter puppet designer Alexandra Herryman – Alexandra will draw on a wide variety of puppetry techniques to construct the baddies for the show. She was kind enough to share some of her prime sources with all of you guys:
Puppet Designer Alexandra Herryman with her three wise moon men puppets from “A Puppet Nativity.”
Nothing says “elegant shadow play” like contemporary dance ensemble PILOBOLUS.
Farrah the Fairy might be played by a “humanette” puppet double like the ones in this music video by Sia. But can the Humanette wield a knife??
A lot of Alexandra’s puppetry training comes from the Bread and Puppet large-scale pageant puppet style.
In a theater like the Plaza at the Boston Center for the Arts where the ceilings are only 12 feet tall, one of Alexandra’s biggest challenges will be making big monsters look really big. Julie Taymor plays with scale really effectively in her 1997 stage adaptation of THE LION KING
CHUCK: I keep her pretty busy if you know what I mean.
MILES: Doing what?
CHUCK: Fighting monsters, my man. Fighting. Monsters.
You couldn’t go see a play called SHE KILLS MONSTERS and walk away without seeing any monsters. Fortunately for us, Qui Nguyen injects his Dungeons & Dragons-inspired Ohio fantasy world with plenty of D&D beasties to make any casual adventurer giggle with second edition delight. The majority of these creatures are referenced in the Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual, available in its entirety online. Click on the kobald to start the monster slideshow.
“Kobolds are a cowardly, sadistic race of short humanoids that vigorously contest the human and demi-human races for living space and food. They especially dislike gnomes and attack them on sight. Barely clearing 3 feet in height, kobolds have scaly hides that range from dark, rusty brown to a rusty black. They smell of damp dogs and stagnant water. Their eyes glow like a bright red spark and they have two small horns ranging from tan to white. Because of the kobolds’ fondness for wearing raggedy garb of red and orange, their non-prehensile rat-like tails, and their language (which sounds like small dogs yapping), these fell creatures are often not taken seriously. This is often a fatal mistake, for what they lack in size and strength they make up in ferocity and tenacity” – The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Bugbears are giant, hairy cousins of goblins who frequent the same areas as their smaller relatives.
Bugbears are large and very muscular, standing 7′ tall. Their hides range from light yellow to yellow brown and their thick coarse hair varies in color from brown to brick red. Though vaguely humanoid in appearance, bugbears seem to contain the blood of some large carnivore. Their eyes recall those of some savage bestial animal, being greenish white with red pupils, while their ears are wedge shaped, rising from the top of their heads. A bugbear’s mouth is full of long sharp fangs.
Bugbears have a nose much like that of a bear with the same fine sense of smell. It is this feature which earned them their name, despite the fact that they are not actually related to bears in any way. Their tough leathery hide and long sharp nails also look something like those of a bear, but are far more dexterous.
The typical bugbear’s sight and hearing are exceptional, and they can move with amazing agility when the need arises. Bugbear eyesight extends somewhat into the infrared, giving them infravision out to 60 feet.
The bugbear language is a foul sounding mixture of gestures, grunts, and snarls which leads many to underestimate the intelligence of these creatures. In addition, most bugbears can speak the language of goblins and hobgoblins.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“The lich is, perhaps, the single most powerful form of undead known to exist. They seek to further their own power at all costs and have little or no interest in the affairs of the living, except where those affairs interfere with their own.
A lich greatly resembles a wight or mummy, being gaunt and skeletal in form. The creature’s eye sockets are black and empty save for the fierce pinpoints of light which serve the lich as eyes. The lich can see with normal vision in even the darkest of environments but is unaffected by even the brightest light. An aura of cold and darkness radiates from the lich which makes it an ominous and fearsome sight. They were originally wizards of at least 18th level.
Liches are often (75%) garbed in the rich clothes of nobility. If not so attired, the lich will be found in the robes of its former profession. In either case, the clothes will be tattered and rotting with a 25% chance of being magical in some way” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“The illithid, or mind flayer, is an evil and feared creature of the Underdark; its powers are formidable and it feeds on the brains of any creature it encounters. Using arcane powers, it enslaves or destroys its foes, which include such powerful creatures as drow and kuo-toa.
Mind Flayers stand about 6 feet tall and have hideous mauve skin that glistens with slime. The head resembles an octopus, with white eyes (no pupils are evident) and four tentacles around its mouth, a round, many-toothed orifice like that of a lamprey. The creature has three reddish fingers and a thumb on each hand.
Illithids have infravision. They can communicate with any creatures via innate telepathy; they have no spoken language, although they often accompany their thoughts with hissing, and the eager lashing of their tentacles. Mind flayers dress in flowing robes, often with high, stiff collars, adorned with symbols of death and despair.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Umber hulks are powerful subterranean predators whose ironlike claws allow them to burrow through solid stone in search of prey.
Umber hulks are tremendously strong, standing nearly 8 feet tall and over 5 feet wide. Muscles bulge beneath their thick, scaly hides and their powerful arms and legs all carry great claws. They have no necks to speak of, but the head features a powerful maw with rows of triangular teeth and 8-inch mandibles capable of biting through any hide or bone. Most peculiar of all are the four round eyes, spaced evenly across each umber hulk’s forehead. Umber hulks are black, shading to a lighter shade of yellowish gray on the front. Their eyes are mere blackened dots each the size of a small coin. Umber hulks have their own language.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Aptly called a landshark, the bulette (pronounced Boo-lay) is a terrifying predator that lives only to eat. The bulette is universally shunned, even by other monsters.
It is rumored that the bulette is a cross between an armadillo and a snapping turtle, but this is only conjecture. The bulette’s head and hind portions are blue-brown, and they are covered with plates and scales ranging from gray-blue to blue-green. Nails and teeth are dull ivory. The area around the eyes is brown-black, the eyes are yellowish and the pupils are blue green.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Sprites are shy and reclusive faerie people, related to other faerie-folk, like brownies and leprechauns. There are several varieties, including pixies and nixies. Most have small, semitransparent wings, and elven features.
Normal sprites have distinctly elven features and live in meadows and wooded glens. The naturally invisible pixies are perhaps the most intelligent and mischievous of the faeries; they dwell in idyllic woodlands and delight in harassing travelers with their pranks. Nixies are water sprites that live in freshwater lakes, and, while they harbor no grudges against humankind, they delight in enslaving men as their beasts of burden. Other sylvan creatures related to sprites include the swift atomies and the mischievous grigs, both forest-dwellers.” Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“The oozes, slimes and jellies of the underworld are hideous, amorphous creatures that are the bane of all that lives, dissolving the weapons, armor, and flesh of their victims.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“The doppleganger is a master of mimicry that survives by taking the shapes of men, demihumans, and humanoids. Dopplegangers are bipedal and generally humanoid in appearance. Their bodies are covered with a thick, hairless gray hide, which gives them a natural AC of 5. They are, however, rarely seen in their true forms.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Succubi are not warriors. They flee combat whenever they can. If forced to fight, they can attack with their claws, but they prefer to turn foes against one another. Succubi use their polymorph change shape ability to assume humanoid guise, and can maintain this deception indefinitely. Their preferred tactic when dealing with heroes is to feign friendship and create an opportunity to be alone with one of them, whereupon the succubus applies her life-draining kiss. Succubi are not above taking on the role of a damsel in distress when encountered within a dungeon.” D&D Wiki
“The beholder is the stuff of nightmares. This creature, also called the sphere of many eyes or the eye tyrant, appears as a large orb dominated by a central eye and a large toothy maw, has 10 smaller eyes on stalks sprouting from the top of the orb. Among adventurers, beholders are known as deadly adversaries.
Equally deadly are a number of variant creatures known collectively as beholder-kin, including radical and related creatures, and an undead variety. The globular body of the beholder and its kin is supported by levitation, allowing it to float slowly about as it wills.
Beholders and beholder-kin are usually solitary creatures, but there are reports of large communities of them surviving deep beneath the earth and in the void between the stars, under the dominion of hive mothers.
All beholders speak their own language, which is also understood by all beholder-kin. In addition, they often speak the tongues of other lawful evil creatures.” The Monstrous Manual, 2nd Edition
“Tiamat is a supremely strong and powerful draconic goddess in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The name is taken from Tiamat, a goddess in ancient Mesopotamian mythology who is substantially different (and does not have multiple heads).
Tiamat is a queen and mother of evil dragons and a member of the default pantheon of D&D gods. Her symbol is a five-headed dragon.
Tiamat is a greedy, vain, and arrogant goddess who embodies all the strengths of evil dragonkind, and few of their weaknesses. Tiamat is most concerned with spreading evil, defeating good, and propagating chromatic dragons. She never forgives a slight. Although she is not averse to razing the occasional village, her true schemes are subtle and hard to detect. She has been compared to a puppeteer manipulating her creations from within shadows.
The Queen of Evil Dragons demands reverence, homage, supplication, and tribute from her subjects. She is sometimes called “Her Dark Majesty” or simply “Dark Queen”. D&D Wiki
Welcome to the Dramaturgy Blog for the Company One production of Qui Nguyen’s SHE KILLS MONSTERS. This blog will serve as the home for multimedia resources for audiences and members of the production teams. Prepare yourselves, adventurers, for the 90s-immersed, fantasy-a%$-kicking, puppet-populated context of this high flying adventure play!
Teens in the 90s had a lot to grieve over – unfortunately, Agnes has a lot more to cry about than Tai Frasier.