Killing game

by Eugène Ionesco

Eugène clown and shaman

Killing game, o Jeux de Massacre to use its French title, can be said to describe the great variety of death: one day, in a city that is not clearly identified and in an equally unspecified period, though it could be our own time, all of a sudden, without the slightest warning, a violent epidemic breaks out. No one knows what the disease is, but the fact is that people are dying like flies, “at random.”

Ionesco probes human nature just where it is laid most bare: in the face of the inevitable. What ensues is a magnificent vision of the human comedy. Everyone is recognizable. We and the people we know are in there too. The tragic, the sinister and the comic, horror and farce are all mixed up. It is a new Commedia dell’Arte.


In this play the author delights in multiplying the points of view, as if death were putting on a performance in a hall of mirrors, playing with innumerable reflections of its misdeeds and revealing its absurdities and inconsistencies, meanness and magnanimity. The variety of the perspectives also stems from the different meanings that the characters assign to death.


In our production everything takes place along a street, when we are in the open, and in long corridors, the streets of our houses, when we are indoors. Places of passage in which the short main scene of life is staged emblematically. You enter, you play your part, you die and you exit, from life and stage. You pass, in other words.