The End

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A package arrives in the mail. Inside is an invitation that reads: Your presence is requested at The End. A date four weeks away follows, but no location is given, yet. Then: What happens between then and now is up to you… 

So begins Swim Pony’s The End, an individualized experience combining text message conversation, alternate reality game, and theatrical installation. For 28 days, a mysterious entity called “The End” guides each journeyer via text message to draw a card from their deck, unlocking a corresponding “quest” challenging them to consider mortality or what brings meaning to their life. Over the course of a month, journeyers build a customized mission for their gameplay and reflect with The End about their experiences. At last, on drawing one final card, their initial invitation brings them to a culminating event they will remember for the rest of their lives.

In short: A new form of storytelling guides participants on an individual journey to confront mortality and celebrate life.

To get a fuller sense of the project, download this informational packet or take a look behind the curtain in our exhaustive “behind the scenes” catalogue of resources, developmental archives and evaluation on the game:

An Ultimate Insider’s Guide to The End

TESTIMONIALS from Participants

“The End was a glorious, joyous, unexpected, and complicated piece that has changed my life. I’ve learned an entirely new mindset with which to face life and I am forever grateful.”

“As antidote to a culture devoted to the denial of death, The End, gently, joyfully, and subtly makes you realize that accepting the fact and presence of death is the key to living a fuller, more engaged life.”

The End should be required for all humans.”


Director/Lead Writer: Adrienne Mackey
Designer: Maria Shaplin
Lead Guide & Simulation Expert: Katonya Mosley
Community Engagement Coordinator: Liz Green
Dramaturg/Production Stage Manager: Samantha Wend
Performer Guides: Eun Jung Choi, Anita Holland, Jenna Horton, John Hawthorne, Martha Stuckey, Bradley Wrenn

“News” Performers: Rupal Pujara, Nicole Quenelle, Janice Rowland Radway
Receptionists: Josh Samors, Lee Minora, Meryl Sands, Robin Stamey, and the concierges of American Executive Centers
Final Party Music: Sean Hoots
Special Thanks: Dr. Christina Lecker, Dr. Manisha Shendge and Chestnut Hill College, Dr. Marie Conn, Dr. Jessica Sautter, the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Adachi Pimentel, Sarah Gardner, Scott Kaufman, Jet Heiko, Nick Jehlen, Ian Garrett, PhilaLandmarks/The Powel House, Melissa Erlick, JJ Tiziou, and all our amazing beta testers throughout the development process

Funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Barra Foundation, The Wyncote Foundation, The Cultural Fund, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, PECO, and the Samuel S. Fels Fund

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