A true double play: killing monsters on two school stages


The cast of "She Kills Monsters" at Mount Vernon High School (Credit: MVHS Theatre Arts)

This weekend, Richmond Highway area residents have a couple of options for school theater productions: “She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria — or “She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” at South County High School in Lorton.

The fact that both high school drama departments are putting on the same show on the same dates is “100% coincidence,” according to Jessica Shaw, chair of the Mount Vernon High School Performing Arts Department.

Shaw, who has known South County High School theatre arts teacher Molly Rumberger since 2016, said the two women became close friends when they discovered they lived near each other and enjoyed a mutual interest in local trails.

“We ended up becoming walking buddies,” said Shaw.

It was on one of those walks this past summer that the two started discussing what shows they planned to produce during the upcoming school year.

“We realized we were both planning to do this play and thought it was super funny that we both picked the same one,” said Shaw. “The next thought we had was that if we weren’t doing it the same weekend, maybe we could organize an outing with our students to see and support the other production, but we soon realized we both were planning for the same weekend of performances too.”

A scene from "She Kills Monsters" at South County High School (Credit: SCHS Theatre Arts)

While the theater instructors-turned-friends won’t be able to view each other’s shows, they have been enjoying the opportunity to share information about how they approached the production.

“We have talked about and compared design choices, scenes, fight choreography, schedules, etc.,” said Shaw. “One of my favorite things has been how different our shows seem to be. It’s the beauty of theatre — the same script can be produced in so many ways, and our students have made such unique creative choices. It’s been a lot of fun talking about the similarities and differences with Molly.”

“She Kills Monsters” debuted Nov. 17 at both schools and will be performed tonight (Nov. 18) and Nov. 19 as well. For more information and tickets to Mount Vernon High School’s performance, visit the MVHS Theatre Arts website. For information and tickets to South County High School’s performance, visit the SCHS Theatre Arts website. Note: The play is intended for mature audiences due to language and choreographed violence.

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