Drive-Thru Interview: Marikah Christine Leal and “She Kills Monsters” at FCC

IMG_1543I first met Marikah Christine Leal outside of Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater after a Good Company Players’ company meeting.  “What were you cast as?” she asked me bluntly. When I told her I was understudying in Steel Magnolias, she did the only thing possible to guarantee my immediate good opinion of her. She told me she was surprised I wasn’t cast as she thought I was one of the best reads in the room. Her direct seriousness completely overwhelmed my usual suspicion of flattery.

Marikah is one of the under-30 go-getters coming up in the Fresno theater community, having already performed a solid variety of roles at a few different companies. Willing to work backstage, onstage and, lately, in an asst. director’s chair, she admits to a love of “just being in the room” where making theatre is concerned (another tidbit that raised my opinion of her in that moment outside of Roger Rocka’s).

Audiences have seen her onstage at Fresno City College in Silent Sky, Detroit and Bad Jews and with Good Company Players in Proof and The Hounds of the Baskervilles. Her recent stint as an assistant director for Steel Magnolias shows promise, as well.

This week, however, she performs the role of Agnes Evans in Fresno City College’s current production of She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen (writer of the critically acclaimed play Vietgone), directed by Adam Meredith. A comedic tour-de-force, She Kills Monsters is more than the title lets on. It’s a wild journey through a world of fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, featuring homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and tons of 90s pop culture, all while Agnes struggles with the loss of her sister, Tilly.

Here’s Marikah Christine Leal’s Drive-Thru Interview:

In one word, describe your present condition.


In one sentence, what’s going on in your world?
A whole lot of theatre.


With no restrictions on content or form, describe the present condition of your artistic outlook. 
I’m extremely optimistic. There are some things in the works that I’m really looking forward to and the things that I’m finishing right now have been very rewarding.


She Kills Monsters Social Media Graphic


Why She Kills Monsters?
I actually had no idea what I was auditioning for when I walked into the audition and callback; a friend dragged me along. But I knew that it was going to be way out of my comfort zone and had heard really positive things about the script.


Describe the ideal audience member for this show. 
Anyone. Seriously, people who love Dungeons and Dragons will feel right at home and so will people who have never even heard of the game. The story is told through Agnes’ eyes and she is learning about this world- as the play progresses- along with the audience.


What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after this show?
I think people will be thinking about relationships in their lives and risks/adventures that have never been taken. Hopefully they leave with the inspiration to take a chance on something in their lives.


What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?
The most challenging aspect of this show was the fight choreography, there’s a ton in this show and a ton of people. Interesting, but definitely a challenge.


What makes a great audience for you?
Open hearts and open minds.


When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
CIGARETTES. Don’t smoke – it’s really bad for you. But yeah, cigarettes.


What are your top three theatre reads?
Oh no…
Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen because Uta.
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts because it’s brilliant.
Anything Sondheim.


What would you like to see more of on Fresno stages?


What’s next?
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot with Simpson Theatricals.


She Kills Monsters runs October 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 at 7:30 pm & October 7, 12, 13 at 2:00 pm.

Tickets: $14 General, $12 Students, Staff, and Seniors at the Fresno City College Theater.

Catch up with the cast and crew on the She Kills Monsters Instagram or the FCC Theater Arts and Dance Instagram

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