- Bruce Elliott
You've received a simple black-and-white flier with the words, "I'm gonna kill the president!" and a toll-free phone number. Do you call the number, or the FBI?
A small group of urban dwellers in Colorado Springs were faced with this dilemma last week, when a troupe of activist-actors calling itself the Imagination Liberation Front swept through town.
Those who called the number were greeted with a message to law enforcement, explaining the difference between a threat and theater. Following that came instructions to meet at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17, in front of Toons Music & Film, $15 in hand.
The tone was set for an evening of interactive theater and paranoia, which kicked off with a vetting of the approximately 30 audience members (seemingly to ensure no law enforcement was present).
In a nondescript garage in an alley behind Toons, spectators then were treated to a surprisingly funny, well-executed performance that included a suicide bomber taking out a senator (pictured).
Maintaining the clandestine nature of the event, ILF actors refused to offer their names, or any information about the origins of the troupe. All they offered was that they'd traveled across the country performing.
Just before the climax, the ILF brought an audience member onstage to play the part of the president. They confiscated his phone and, holding the receiver up to a microphone, called "a White House hotline." They prompted the audience to yell, in unison, "I'm gonna kill the president!"
Within 20 minutes, there was a bang on the garage door. Two convincing FBI agents busted in, arrested the entire cast and crew, then drove them away in an unmarked van.
"[We're] trying to change the world with fun," one actor told the audience before the performance.
Just remember, kids: Threatening to kill the president is not acceptable "fun."