– by guest writer Colin K. Bills –
dog & pony dc’s A Killing Game (or AKG) is an absurdist-play-meets-party-game promising the most fun you’ll ever have dying.
The show, and the game within it, begins with the outbreak of a deadly disease wherein EVERYONE – the performers and the audience – dies. Led by a smarmy game show host – Mr. Chrome (J.Argyl Plath) – and his seductive but elusive “Friend in Black,” (Rachel Grossman) the audience is taken through a series of rounds with different challenges surrounding this plague.
The show was inspired by Eugene Ionesco’s play Jeu de Massacre, Orson Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds 1938 radio broadcast, Twitter activity during the Arab Spring, and the games Clue, Fluxx and Werewolves.
Led by a guiding principle that the audience completes our ensemble, d&pdc set out to create a show where the audience’s participation in the performance would not just be desirable but absolutely necessary – much as a party game simply cannot work without the joyful and willing participation of its players.
Theater – a social experience – is often antisocial once the houselights go down: we turn our phones off, we sit quietly, and have a one-on-one experience with the performance onstage. But what if theater was anything but that? What if we were encouraged to make phone calls during the show, to argue with our fellow audience members, to play scenes alongside the performers? AKG asks us to break all of these theater rules in the context of the show – hopefully to hilarious results. And in the process of playing along, the audience is asked to help us sanitize a house, analyze the ridiculous symptoms of infected patients, create Breaking News, and compete for Valuable Prizes to place in their Emergency Action Kits.
devised by the dog&ponydc ensemble
at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
– Melton Rehearsal Hall
641 D Street NW
Washington, DC, 20004
Details and tickets
For instance, AKG 1.0 attempted to create a world where live-Tweeting was a part of the experience. We didn’t do such a good job with that, and so in AKG 2.0 much of that online experience has been revamped, vastly improved, and made a more intentional part of the performance. We also have fully embraced the show as a Game, with points, winners, and more overt competition. We’ve cut a couple scenes. We’ve added a scene.
In the original run, we thought we were creating a show about the hype that arises out of a public emergency – the panic, the absurd choices we make, the alternating trust and distrust of official sources. While that hype and those themes are still very much a part of AKG 2.0, in this second incarnation we’ve worked towards an argument that the best way to live – to celebrate life – is to look death in the face and play the game of life to the fullest, as hard and joyfully as possible. And what better way to celebrate life than to mock death by playing at it?
Yes, AKG 2.0 asks the audience to participate and perform. It asks that we don’t just sit back and watch (though as the director, some of the most fun I have watching this show is watching the audience take part in the show). And for those audience members that are the most game, that play to its fullest, there ARE rewards.
In AKG 2.0 we challenge you to play with us, and know that our audiences will rise to that challenge.
Presented as part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, D.C. non-profit Capital Fringe.
A Killing Game performs in the Woolly Mammoth Rehearsal Hall beginning July 11. More information on the show is available at www.dogandponydc.com .