Fatima Mejia as Tilly, left, and Gwyneth Forrester as Agnes dive into an imaginary role-playing world stuffed with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, evil cheerleaders, and warrior maidens in Foothill Theatre Arts’ “She Kills Monsters,” performing by Nov. 18, 2018, at Lohman Theatre. (Picture by David Allen / Foothill Theatre) 

Carla Pantoja, who was born and raised in Santa Clara and nonetheless lives there, took a summer season session in stage fight at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, “and I LOVED it,” she mentioned throughout a latest cellphone interview.

She continued coaching for it when she returned to the states.

“It’s positively a subject dominated by males,” she mentioned. “I keep in mind some combat academics asking us on the time, ‘What are you doing at this combat class? What would you like from it?’ I mentioned, ‘I do know I’ll most likely by no means use this, however I adore it.’ “I form of fell into it. As a result of I understand how to combat, alternatives form of opened up. I performed a job in ‘Corilanus’ at Girl’s Will, fought, continued on, and a chance to be a combat director got here up.”

Since then, Pantoja has been an actor and a combat director everywhere in the better Bay Space, and likewise teaches stage fight at many faculties and faculties. She was licensed as a stage fight teacher by Dueling Arts Worldwide.

Nowadays, she’s been having enjoyable educating the actors for “She Kills Monsters” for Foothill Theatre.

“‘She Kills Monsters’ is sort of all girls,’ she mentioned. “It’s fairly superb. The thrilling factor about ‘She Kills Monsters’ is that the majority of those fights are with feminine fighters, and they’re combating with weapons.

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“The vast majority of modern performs which have violence are usually centered on violence towards girls. This present might be each combat director’s dream. I’ve a sense this can go into one thing I’ll contact once more because it comes alongside. Many instances.”

Additionally thrilling about “She Kills Monsters” are the weapons the forged — devoted gamers of “Dungeons & Dragons” — get to wield.

“All these weapons from ‘Dungeons & Dragons!’” Pantoja mentioned. “The theatricality of working with a battle axe that could be a form of halberd. They’re steel weapons, stage-worthy weapons, designed to take a beating. There are quarter-staff fights, a giant battle axe, broadswords, a brief sword, a buckler — a form of small defend.”

Pantoja mentioned she was not into martial arts earlier than studying about stage fight.

“It’s a special mentality,” she mentioned. “In sparring (like in martial arts), the intention is to get the opposite particular person. In stage, you’re employed together with your stage associate to inform the story. You’re letting your associate assault pre-determined elements of your physique, and vice versa.”

Pantoja is agency concerning the want for theater firms to rent combat administrators.

“I inform them, you don’t have the cash to rent a stage director, however do you might have the cash to pay the legal responsibility? There was a theater firm in San Francisco, they had been doing an arm lock on an actor — an artwork director and the director. They didn’t have a combat director. They broke the actor’s arm whereas demonstrating how they wished it executed. It was a horrible break.

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“You can not deal with actors like tissue, throw them away. … I need to preserve my actors protected, so that they  can combat one other day.”

“She Kills Monsters,” by Qui Nguyen, at first appears virtually goofy, a story of ‘Dungeons & Dragons,’ stuffed with nerdy youngsters taking part in the seminal role-playing recreation. The stage is stuffed with courageous heroines and elves and monsters, and everyone’s having a good time with swords and magic.

However it evolves into one thing deep and significant, and really touching. It’s a narrative of a household tragedy, and discovering hope.

It’s the story, roughly, of Agnes, a 25-year-old schoolteacher who misplaced her total household in a automobile crash. Whereas packing up her household’s home in Ohio so she will be able to transfer in along with her boyfriend, she finds her 15-year-old sister Tilly’s “Dungeons & Dragons” pocket book.

She takes the pocket book to a highschool child, Chuck, and browbeats him into changing into Dungeon Grasp, so she will be able to play the sport story her sister wrote.

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And the sport begins to unfold instantly, with a dominatrix, flesh-eating warrior Lillith, and a warrior elf, Kalliope. And Agnes’ useless sister, Tilly — that’s, Tillius the Paladin, healer of the wounded and the protector of lights.

At first Agnes is form of freaked out — she herself was into “regular” issues — pop music and boys — and doesn’t perceive her little sister’s curiosity on this geeky recreation.

However she needs to make up for misplaced time. She needs to get to know the little sister she by no means took the time to know, and thinks she might discover her within the recreation her sister wrote.

It’s a wonderful play.


What: “She Kills Monsters”

That includes: Gwyneth Forrester (Agnes), Fatima Mejia (Tilly), Niko Raiyawa (Chuck), Seton Chiang (Narrator), Amara Snow-Miller (Lilith), Jaime Melendez (Kaliope), Thomas Instances (Orcus), Gwyneth Worth Panos (Vera), Austin Valliani (Steve), Omer Ben-Uzi (Miles), Brenda Lopez (Evil Tina), Reagan Harwood (Evil Gabbi), and Abbey Eklund (Farrah). The ensemble consists of: Sarah Hamidi, Sidney Kenny, Jonathan Wright, Daniel Cardenas, and Kyle Welsh.

When: By means of Nov. 18, 2018

The place: Lohman Theatre, 12345 El Monte Street off I-280, Los Altos Hills

Tickets: $5 (preview)- $20; www.foothill.edu/theatre or 650-949-7360


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