Photo by Anthony Diaz @bubz95
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Area Stage Company is presenting She Kills Monsters a play by Qui Nguyen. “Deceptively breezy and rather ingenious. The whole enterprise is kind of dopey and kind of invigorating and kind of remarkable. It will slash and shapeshift its way into your heart” said The New York Times.

It premiered off Broadway at the Flea Theater in 2011, She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans, following the death of her sister Tilly, as she prepares to leave her childhood home. Once Agnes discovers Tilly’s Dungeons and Dragons notebook, she is whisked away to begin an adventure of self-discovery filled with homicidal fairies and nasty ogres, appealing to the geek and warrior within us all.

The original production played to sold-out houses and high critical praise. “Packed with action, wit, and a sizeable nerd-quotient, the production is a delight from start to finish.” – Theatremania

A cast of 11 talented actors will tell the story, many of them moving seamlessly from character to character throughout the piece.  

The play will feature original music, hand-drawn animation, and live puppetry to aid in the visual storytelling a tale of high-fantasy requires.  

Local Trans Actress June-Raven Romero  plays three characters throughout the one-act play: the Narrator, an omniscient presence that guides us through the protagonists’ journey,  Vera Martin, a detached High School guidance counselor with a brutally honest demeanor who seems like she’d rather be anywhere else, and Farrah the Faerie, a tiny, foul mouthed, forest dwelling mythical creature. 

Were you always an actress even as a kid?

I have been involved in theater since I was 11 years old. That was the first time I ever stepped foot on a stage and performed an improvised comedy skit, pretending to be a vagrant drunk, meandering in the streets (much to the enjoyment of my sixth grade drama class). I continued to be in productions, thespian and dance troupes all through high school. When I got to college, I sort of hit a wall, and went through a gender identity crisis. I picked up one or two small projects, but mostly did technical work and directing. At 21, I walked into Area Stage Company and auditioned for Sweeney Todd, and ended up landing the lead. (It was sort of an ultimate test of my gender identity conundrum. I wanted to try on a very masculine role for size, and challenge my psyche; no matter what I was going through personally, performing arts was always an escape)

What was your first professional role?

My professional debut didn’t come until I danced with the Pioneer Winter Collective in a piece called Forced Entry and Other Love Stories in February of 2017 at the Goldman Warehouse at the Miami Light Project. Since then, I have been in another piece with the Collective entitled Reprise in March 2018, Cabaret and this production, which I was asked to read for after my performance in Cabaret. I was invited to a table reading of the play about three weeks ago by Giancarlo, and he enjoyed my rendition of the characters so much, he offered me the parts. 

When did you start transitioning and how does it feel to live your life in your true skin?

Since I’ve transitioned, I feel like the world has opened up before me and I can enter the arena of the performing arts as the archetype I want to be remembered as. It’s been a little over two years since I took the leap of faith, and began medically transitioning, and it has paid off in every single way. I am an activist, a person full of passion and ideas, and hopeful for the day that Trans folks can be revered for their cultural, academic, and social contributions like anyone else.

Why should the South Florida audiences come see She Kills Monsters?

She Kills Monsters is a story about belonging, finding community and building bridges of communication between family and friends. Something I think we all need right now, and universal concepts that I know all people will identify with. It’s the story of opening up a world that few know much about and discovering how it’s not so different, at its core, from anything we all love to be a part of. It’s also a great mix of raunchy humor, heartfelt, honest writing and innovative artistic direction. If audiences want to appreciate something truly new and relatively undone, that’s never been imagined this way, this is it. 

You can catch June along with the entire cast of She Kills Monsters at the Area Stage Company (1560 So. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 30. To purchase tickets, which range from $10 – $25, or for more info go to:  areastagecompany.com, or call 305-666-2078.