Pittsburg High School Theatre is known for tackling topical issues, but the show being producing this week at Memorial Auditorium is especially relevant to teens, cast members say, including being a part of the LGBTQ community, losing family members, and being labeled as a nerd.
When Agnes Evans, played by senior Kylee Eidson, loses her family in a car accident, she must confront the uncomfortable truth that she never really knew her younger sister, Tilly, played by McKenna Shaw.
The show follows Agnes’ adventures following a Dungeons & Dragons module (or map) that Tilly, a “D&D nerd,” wrote when she was 15. The adventures come to life with the help of five life-sized dragon puppets, each weighing about 30 pounds and worn with the help of backpack frames.
Through those adventures — which include stage combat and swordplay taught to the cast by New York City fight choreographer Paul Molnar — Agnes discovers her sister was a lesbian and bullied at school because of it.
Slaying “monsters” on stage could be representational of slaying homophobia, intolerance, and hatred, cast members say.
“It is extremely relevant right now — it’s the third most-produced show among high schools and colleges, and that’s important,” said McKenna Shaw, a senior who plays the role of Tilley. “It recognizes the invisibility, and really focuses on the importance of visibility, of the LGBTQ community. The plot involves playing Dungeons and Dragons, and through that it shows it’s OK to be a bit of a nerd, a weirdo, and to embrace your flaws and imperfections.”
Mona Estes, a senior who plays the role of Lilith, said the show is important because it has messages worth hearing.
“Like, to appreciate your family when you have them, because they won’t always be there, and that’s something we tend to forget,” Estes said. “And, it reminds us to accept everybody for their differences. It touches a bit into the LGBTQ community, and as a member of that community, I think it is really important to have that perspective.”
Other cast members include:
Emma Noonoo (Narrator), Ethan McConnell (Chuck), Tristin Perrin (Miles), Tabor Workman (Kaliope), Xavier Huffman (Orcus), Franchesca Brownhanney (Vera), Bryson Brown (Steve), Grace Puckett (Bugbear 1 / Tiamat), Alyvia Swartz (Bugbear 2 / Tiamat), Aunxy Estes (Bugbear 3 / Tiamat), River Peery (Bugbear 4 / Tiamat), Lillie Chatman (Bugbear 5 / Tiamat), Kennedy Tomasi (Farrah), Sophie Casper (Faelyn), Ella Rhuems (Evil Gabbi), Mallory Womeldorff (Evil Tina), and Annabella Beachner (Evil Becky).
Crew members include:
Madelaine Bishop, Kiersten Deirling, Keller Erwin, Jade Gerrish, Logan Jones, Kole Perez, Ashley Singh, Kaitlyn Chambers, Olivia Doodnauth, Alexa Fletcher, Renee Gibbs, Lexi Ketcham, Drake Plain, Mason Smith, Hayden Stevens, Dallas Cox, Hayden Drake, Ayla Ford, Cole Ingerson, Tate Lawson, Rebekah Sheward, Gavin Steier, Anita White, Kyle Newby, Jason Huffman, Chuck Boyles, and Paul Molnar.
The show is being produced at Memorial Auditorium and is being directed by Greg Shaw.
Performances will be 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $5, $8, and $10, and are on sale now at www.memorialauditorium.org, at the box office at 503 N. Pine, and by calling 620-231-7827. They’ll also be sold at the door starting one hour prior to each show.