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Playwrights Horizons Announces Raja Feather Kelly | The Feath3r Theory's THE KILL ONE RACE

The KILL ONE Race is part-documentary, capturing the members of the feath3r theory as they recreate a macabre game first envisioned in the 1963 dystopian novel Kill One.

Playwrights Horizons Announces Raja Feather Kelly | The Feath3r Theory's THE KILL ONE RACE

Playwrights Horizons will present Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory's The KILL ONE Race, a performance-based work created and filmed at Playwrights Horizons during the pandemic. The KILL ONE Race treats the Mainstage Theater as the setting for a morbid reality competition show: over the course of seven days replete with ice-breakers, speed dates, confessionals, sacred rituals, murder plots, and copious dancing, seven contestants compete to be proven the most ethical-and earn the singular prize of death. The KILL ONE Race is part-documentary (capturing the members of the feath3r theory as they recreate a macabre game first envisioned in the 1963 dystopian novel Kill One), part theater, and part reality TV game show itself. It can be streamed at thekillonerace.com, with Episodes 1 & 2 available beginning June 4, Episodes 3 & 4 on June 7, Episode 5 on June 9, Episode 6 on June 11, and Episode 7 on June 12. All episodes will premiere at 7pm.

Raja Feather Kelly has become known Off-Broadway as the director of Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die (Second Stage), the choreographer of Tori Sampson's If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons), and of two consecutive Pulitzer Prize-winning works: Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview (Soho Rep.) and Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons). With The KILL ONE Race, theater audiences will now get to experience Kelly's own acclaimed multidisciplinary vision. Kelly's works teem with pop cultural references that make the real and the artificial curl in on themselves in metatextual somersaults; in the docufiction performance Another Fucking Andy Warhol Production or Who's Afraid of Andy Warhol, the artist and his company revealed the process of creating a post-ballet reimagining of an SNL episode that may never have existed. Inspired by revealing social experiments (both real and fictitious)-like the dizzying self-reflexivity of William Greaves' Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Lars von Trier's The Idiots (and the barren-stage-as-American-microcosm in Dogville), the titular competition within Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, and the evolution of early televised game shows into the byzantine mazes of human degradation that make up today's reality TV-The KILL ONE Race brings Kelly's inquiries into the omnipotence of pop culture into the very onscreen forms it deconstructs.

Kelly and his company enact The KILL ONE Race within a blueprint of the media that has deeply informed American social and political life. The work, created In a charged moment of full-on social war over human rights, civil rights, and whose lives matter, contemplates the power of reality TV's morphing history over our consciousnesses. A speculative succession of propositions unpacking contemporary American mores, this work presents a world where utopia, dystopia, and reality TV are in competition with our actual reality.

Says Kelly, "On broadcast television, 15 of the top 20 highest-rated programs among the younger adult group are reality or unscripted shows. Are we aware of the negative psychological effect, the insidious impact on our behavior, or the real estate this form occupies in our moral landscape? As we get more and more information from reality TV, we become more and more desirous of competition. People are willing to give up their families; they're willing to give up their money; they're willing to be embarrassed; what's next? I believe that if we don't start making fun of it and pointing a finger at it, the premise of these shows will soon be, 'who's gonna be the first to die?' "

The KILL ONE Race is conceived, production designed, and directed by Raja Feather Kelly. The creative team includes Laura Snow (Media Producer, Lead Editor), Tuce Yasak (Lighting Design), Kate Enman (Photography), You-Shin Chen (Set Design), Remy Kurs (Music), Sophie Maguire (Creative Architecture),
CJ Ferroni (Director of Photography), Brandi Holt (Company Management), Colm Summers (Assistant to Director), and Iliya Vidrin and Jessi Stegall (Ethics Consultants). The cast will be announced at a later date.

The KILL ONE Race continues Playwrights Horizons' Lighthouse Project, an eclectic series that through installations, performances, and events, aims to stretch the definition of playwriting and how a theater building can be used. As the theater begins planning to reopen its doors, this work activates the space with a bold new vision of the many forms performance can take.

Lighthouse began in January 2021 with a Public Art Series conceived and organized by artist, activist, and writer Avram Finkelstein and two-time Tony-winning set and costume designer David Zinn (Playwrights: Hir, The Flick, Circle MIrror Transformation), which has included work from Jilly Ballistic, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Dread Scott. (The latter concludes May 10, and will be followed by an installation from Jess X. Snow.) Lighthouse features collaborations with groundbreaking performance groups citywide, offering live events, digital events, print pieces, workshops and concerts: a list that will grow over time, as the theater seeks to expand the use of its building by an ever-growing range of artists. Beyond the installation series and The KILL ONE Game, the program's initial offerings include an upcoming collaboration with podcast play company The Parsnip Ship.


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