Keep Calm and Carry On Dying

December 13, 2012

Yasmin Tuazon, as Miss Pink, tries to remain calm.

Most of us will die in run-of-the-mill ways. Try out some gruesome alternatives at “A Killing Game,” the latest interactive theater piece from Dog & Pony. Throughout the play, which chronicles a strange disease outbreak, audience members are asked to expire in various exotic manners. We don’t want to give away more than we already have, so instead, we’ll fill you in on the influences behind the work.

“War of the Worlds”: In 1938, CBS broadcast a radio drama about an alien invasion. The story was presented largely as a series of news bulletins, which caused nationwide panic. In “A Killing Game,” the health commissioner tweets advisories as the epidemic develops, and the characters and audience tweet reactions.

Eugene Ionesco’s “Killing Game”: The absurdist playwright’s obscure 1970 work shares more than a title with Dog & Pony’s show: Ionesco also used a mysterious plague as a device to explore how humanity reacts to fear and uncertainty.

Game Night: “A Killing Game” is an actual game. Each audience member receives a hand of cards resembling those from the card game Fluxx, in which the rules change constantly. The cards assign roles (citizen, coroner, etc.) and specify a time and method of demise. Later, playgoers are divided into teams and forced to compete in challenges, game-show-style.

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. NW; through Dec. 22, $5-$40. (Eastern Market)
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Fiona Zublin | December 13, 2012