John Ahlin

Actor - Playwright


Recent plays



a comedy with balls

By John Ahlin and Christopher Patrick Mullen

Chip and Gus meet once a month to play ping pong in the grungy back room of a rundown local bar in an upstate New York college town.  But on this funny, sad, and surprising night, something will change their relationship forever.  ChipandGus balances a furiously fast pace with a delicately slow reveal.  In one cathartic night, these oddball acquaintances who converse incessantly but never really communicate, let their guards down, open up to each other, and discover a connection that goes much deeper than their unmatched passion for the game that brings them together.

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Winner Overall Excellence Award 2016 FringeNYC Ensemble

Official Selection Best of Two Fests 2016 Edinburgh/NYC Encore

Winner Best of the Fest Centenary Stage 2015 Black Box Festival

 chipandgus Reviews

Theatre Reviews Limited

·       A remarkable two-hander one act play

·      Two incredibly skilled actors...A pleasure to watch and intriguing to hear…a perfect team

·       A contemporary Gin Game on steroids with two unlikely characters in an unusual, mesmerizing relationship

·       Their chemistry is not an experiment but an explosion

·       Chip, a musician and Gus a philosophy professor create a complex human symphony       


Peter Filichia - Broadway World

·       One of the most impressive things I've ever seen

·       I think that they are among the finest performances of the season

·       They’re both terrific, it’s amazing to watch them do this…just amazing. Make sure you see ChipandGus

·       I was completely captivated, not just by the ping pong itself but by the play itself

·       I guarantee that you'll be impressed and I guarantee you'll laugh a great deal. It's very, very funny     


Time Out New York

·       ★★★★

·       Recommended

·       ChipandGus is bright, funny and cathartic: an emotionally resonant buddy comedy for thinking audiences. 


NY Theatre Guide

·       ChipandGus is funny, real, sad, and surprising

·       Simply an evening of human connection –Ahlin and Mullen bond in a real way that transcends their hypnotic volleying

·       The play began through their love of the game and grew into a profound and heart-wrenching play



·       Ahlin and Mullen fascinate as Chip and Gus

·       A real game of ping pong. Throughout the entire performance. What a genius idea.

·       Mullen is a delight. Ahlin is spectacular, both are captivating, simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking

·       This insightful comedy incorporates witty banter with philosophical humor and the ridiculous yet clever ideas sewn into the dialogue are wonderful.



·       Swap out the bowler hats for paddles and the play could pass for a modern homage to Waiting for Godot, with graceful, thoughtful character development and a barrage of witty dialogue that flows as easily as Ahlin and Mullen's impressive volleys

·       Mullen and Ahlin hit genuinely poignant notes on love and friendship, and the reasons we engage in them


Curtain Up

·       John Ahlin and Christopher Patrick Mullen bring their star quality to the acting

·       Chip and Gus get into these crazy brainiac punning riffs, batting glorious bits of verbiage back and forth

·       And these guys really can play table tennis



·       One of the best Fringe shows ever

·       One of the best acted and written shows in this year's Fringe.

·       This show is incredible.

·       Delightful, Intelligent, Must see, Hilarious, Absorbing, Exquisite, Profound, Original, Intense, Funny, Clever

·       See it if you want to see two brilliant minds face off

·       Masterfully delivered verbal and physical comedy that explores a friendship that has some real heart.


Hi Drama

·       I have never enjoyed the company of anyone more than Chip and Gus.

·       I was falling off my seat shrieking


DC Metro Theater Arts

·       ChipandGus balances a fast pace with a slow reveal in a two-hander about male bonding, in one cathartic night, over the course of their monthly ping-pong match at a local bar in Upstate New York.  It is at once intelligent, funny, exasperating, and poignant, and the FringeNYC award and encore presentation of this self-described “comedy with balls” are well deserved.


Will Shortz - New York Times Crossword Editor and Westchester Table Tennis Center Owner

·       I loved it.  It was great.

Chipandgus has performed at:



past plays

Gray Area


John Ahlin

The last battle of the War Between the States!

A full-out black-white, blue-gray, blue-red raucously funny confrontation

of wonderfully colorful characters from the opposite ends of the spectrum.

The leading drama and social critic of the day decides to pack it all in and give up, surrendering to the hoards of mediocrity purveyors.  His final radio broadcast is a bitter farewell, firing salvos against a variety of targets, saving a savage barrage against Civil War re-enactors for last.  He has picked the wrong fight.  Three hardcore re-enactors take profound offense and stage a “redress for the ages”.  Four actors, one set. 

gray Area reviews

“Gray Area is a Must See Rocket of a Hit Comedy!

Nothing short of superb…

Delightful surprises and revelations…

One of the most original and engaging new plays I've seen…


Stunning…Tour de force…Brilliantly written…Don’t miss it!

Comically delicious…Absurdly delightful…

Laugh out loud funny…Passionately proves a point…

Smart…Savvy…Hilarious…Touching…A sleeper hit…


Powerfully performed…Intellectually stimulating…

Socially significant…Timelessly relevant…”


 New York Times

  •  “The collision of worlds Ahlin sets up is hilarious…Funny, inventive and unpredictable, performed in a shambling, droll style perfectly matched to the material and hilariously played under Seth Barrish’s direction.”


LA Weekly

  • “A boatload of laughs… Lively, astute, passionate… It is impossible to spurn the refreshing simplicity and honesty of sentiments, not to mention the play’s intelligence and wit!  Recommended!”

  •   “With a sharp tongue in cheek script that is timelessly relevant, socially significant, intellectually stimulating and powerfully performed, writer/actor John Ahlin launched a rocket of hit comedy called Gray Area at The Barrow Group Theatre in Midtown Manhattan.  We can’t say enough good things about this production, so that is why we are giving this show a rare but much deserved Must See rating.”


Backstage West


  • Comically delicious…Absurdly delightful…Laugh out loud funny…Passionately proves a point…”


Peter Filichia, Theater Mania

  •   “Mesmerizing...”

  •  “Smart…Savvy…Hilarious…Pick of the Week!”


Matthew Schechter, Show Business Weekly

  •  In his new comedy Gray Area, John Ahlin examines our country’s current political divide by having his characters debate a time when the country was actually separated: the Civil War.  Ahlin composes a refreshing take on America’s emotional elephant in the room: namely, the animosity between elitist cities like New York and Los Angeles and the “flyover” states in between.  Director Seth Barrish, along with a winning cast, are more than prepared to take on this oddball comedy in a funny, often moving manner.”


American Radio Network

  •  “Stunning…Tour de force…Brilliantly written…Don’t’ miss it!”


Austin Pendleton, Actor/Director/Playwright

  •  “Gray Area is one of the most original and engaging new plays I've seen in quite a while.  It makes you laugh, it touches you, it even makes you THINK.  The arguments are beautiful and it's extraordinarily well acted.”


David Spencer, Aisle Say

  •  “Shavian dialectic is not easy to pull off. You need enough of a story to contain vigorous debate, characters varied and interesting enough to stand up to their literary functions as point-of-view symbols, and finally a locale specific enough to catalyze the particular arguments and magnetic enough to have inevitably drawn those particular characters together at this particular time.  This extremely tall order is met by John Ahlin with his new play Gray Area.  There are delightful surprises and revelations along that way, North/South Civil War issues are very quickly seen in a contemporary context, and the debate, along with the human comedy fueling it, is fascinating.  In the end, Gray Area is provocative and even a little touching; the ensemble is nothing short of superb. You never once doubt the illusion that these guys are those guys, being the parts rather than  playing them.  If any play of the season has the potential to emerge as a sleeper hit…this is the one. 


Israel Horovitz, Playwright

  •  “In the old days this kind of play would go straight to Broadway”




The Deadline


John Ahlin

What happens when the wittiest writer in the world confronts the greatest enemy a writer can face?

Spend 15 minutes with Dorothy Barnes, a successful, curmudgeonly columnist, resplendent in her figure flattering outfit, both the epitome and subtle critic of the high-haut urban fashion of the day, who thrives on words and wit and dryly commenting on all society foibles in her nationwide newspaper column, magazine articles and her occasional plays.  See her battle her biggest foe…a deadline.


the Actors Theater of Louisville's In-house 10 minute play competition

Read for yourself

download John's 15 minute long 10 minute play here


upcoming plays