2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: dog & pony dc’s ‘A Killing Game’ by Colin Bills (Director)

dog & pony dc’s A Killing Game (or AKG) casts its audience as citizens in a town that is beset with a mysterious plague. It’s not clear what causes the deaths that terrorize this town. It’s not clear who might be a victim. But it is clear that the plague is here, and it is indiscriminate in its bidding. Nobody is safe. Not the rich, not the well-educated, not the well-prepared. When the plague hits, you better just sit back and hope it doesn’t hit you. Or, from our point of view, you’ll have much more fun if you just dive into the infection and die the most hilarious death you possible can.

Sean Paul Ellis(Mr. Chrome), and Rachel Grossman (Friend in Black). Photo by Joe Bourguignon.
J. Argyl Plath (Mr. Chrome) and Rachel Grossman (Friend in Black). Photo by Joe Bourguignon.

In our production, we ask our audience to play along with us in the creation of the show. Yes, this is participatory theater. But we also want to make the show a game: something that would naturally ask the audience to participate, with rules of engagement, and rewards for playing along.

Because of this large amount of audience participation, the best rehearsals for this show are the performances themselves. After the original show closed in November, 2012, we took all of the experience from the run to recreate it, honing in on the parts that worked, rewriting those that didn’t. 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?


A Killing Game performs in the Woolly Mammoth Rehearsal Hall beginning July 11th. More information on the show is available at www.dogandponydc.com

THU 7/11 8:30 PM
FRI 7/12 8:30 PM
SUN 7/14 2:30 PM
SUN 7/14 7:30 PM
TUE 7/16 8:30 PM
WED 7/17 8:30 PM
THU 7/18 8:30 PM
FRI 7/19 8:30 PM
SUN 7/21 2:30 PM
SUN 7/21 7:30 PM
TUE 7/23 8:30 PM
WED 7/24 8:30 PM
THU 7/25 8:30 PM
SUN 7/28 2:30 PM
SUN 7/28 7:30 PM




We’ve just returned from a run at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, where we were able to put this new incarnation of the show into practice. We are very pleased with the results, and hope you will be too. Our production of A Killing Game received two awards at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, held May 28 – June 8, 2013.

The production won the Dr. Robert J. Thierauf Producers’ Pick of the Fringe award for CincyFringe 2013. Additionally, the League of Cincinnati Theatres honored A Killing Game it’s festival award, Best Use of Improvisation & Audience Participation.

Of the production, The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote A Killing Game is tight and sharp …manages to be both cynical and optimistic” and CityBeat added, “You know a performance is good when all the crazy, seemingly out-of-control moving parts add up to an infectious entertainment experience.”



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