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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Last ACT: Elements of Theater group take their final bows

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The cast of “She Kills Monsters” poses after performing on their opening night, April 4. PHOTO: GAVIN KUEBLER ’25/THE HAWK

Elements of Theater, a University City-based club, hosted its final show, “She Kills Monsters,” April 6 and 7 before retiring the club at the end of the academic year due to most UCity undergraduate students moving to Hawk Hill.

The club was founded in 2022 by Gianna Calligy ’23 as a student-led theater group providing students who lacked opportunities to perform on stage. 

Themed around the popular game “Dungeons & Dragons,” the play follows average teenager Agnes Evans and how, after her younger sister Tilly’s death, Agnes is able to use “Dungeons & Dragons” to learn more about her sibling’s interests, friends and sexuality that were all hidden from her in life. Actors played roles in both the real and the fictional world of the game, telling a story. 

Liang Jun Ren ’25, Pharm D ’27, who served as the director and a cast member portraying Chuck, is also a “Dungeons & Dragons” fan. He said he feels the story’s themes of escaping reality with friends are applicable to the process of putting on the show itself.

“I have a deep love for theater and also a deep love for role playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and all kinds of nerdy and geeky stuff,” said Ren, a pharmacy major. “To me, it meant escape from the tests, and all the medical laboratory things, all the examinations, all the different things that make life stressful. Being able to work on this project with 14 of my best friends and being able to do this continuously for the past four months or so has just been an incredible experience.”

The show’s message resonated with other cast and crew members who took similar lessons from its themes.

“It’s a story about what everyone wants to be and how they want to be perceived even though other people look at them differently,” said Jack Bentz ’25, who played Steve. “Once they get to playing the game, they get to be who they truly are.”

As a play focused on the inclusion and exploration of LGBTQIA+ characters and themes, the cast decided to dedicate all profits raised to the Mazzoni Center, a Philadelphia-based service organization focused on providing medical aid to under-provisioned queer people in need.

“We thought, ‘What better way to support the LGBTQ community in Philly than to donate to a local Philly charity, especially one that’s also related to healthcare?’” Ren said.

Trisa Chacko ’25 played Tilly Evans in the performance and was cited by Ren as the original advocate for the play’s selection.

“We have such great cast and crew members that are still going into the arts,” Chacko said. “Even though Elements of Theater is ending, I don’t think that’ll stop us or other people on campus from performing in the arts. So, I think even though this specific club is ending, we still have a good chance of spreading the arts and having fun that way.”

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Gavin Kuebler
Gavin Kuebler, Assistant Features Editor
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