The loft space above Thirsty Sports Bar at 317 S. 11th St. has served many purposes over the years. Bands have rehearsed above the bar. There once was a giant pool table of sorts up there, with soccer balls representing the solids and stripes. The space has recently undergone a substantial renovation, and is available not only for party rentals but also as a site for intimate theater productions. And on Satruday, it will become a murder den where an audience has a say in who gets axed.
Starting Saturday, and continuing most Saturdays through the first weekend in October, the space above the sports pub will host an interactive, episodic kill fest called “YouMurder: Kill the Queen.”
During this first show, those who come will watch a half-hour production that is set at a bar where a drag performance featuring characters like the cold, calculating Kiki Divine and the matriarchal Ivanka Mann have to figure out how to respond -- united or divided -- as someone starts targeting performers. Then, after the show is over, the audience gets to target a performer, casting silent votes on who dies in the next episode.
There are two episodes the first night, so those who attend the Saturday performance will get the taste of first blood. Director AJ Oetman said the script and cast are set up to respond to the whims of the audience, no matter which character gets offed.
"They're all prepared to be in just the first episodes or survive until the end," Oetman said.
An actual hour-long drag show will follow the introductory performance. As “YouMurder” progresses, the show will get longer and the drag show shorter until the audiences have dictated how the final 90-minute-ish performance will play out for the 10 characters whose fates they’ve determined.
Oetman said the "YouMurder" idea was inspired in part by wanting to will characters to die (or re-die) on one of his favorite shows -- "The Walking Dead."
"If I could kill Eugene tomorrow, I would," he said.
And yet, Oetman said that one of his least favorite characters on that series, Carol, became one of his favorites. He said he believes that the characters in "YouMurder" will leave audiences similarly conflicted, making those end-of-episode decisions ever more challenging.
“They’re all complex enough that they could either be the killer or the hero,” he said.
Oetman, a Union College grad, has directed theater productions and several film projects, and said his goal is to turn “YouMurder” into an interactive YouTube show.
To get in on the ground floor in Thirsty’s loft space, go to YouMurder.com to order tickets in advance for the 9 p.m. Saturday show.