2AM: The Extended Cut Review
ATYP’s reviewing program was created to give young people a platform to voice their opinions and experiences while developing skills in critical reflection. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of ATYP or its staff.
Watching 2AM: The Extended Cut was my first experience with interactive theatre. It was performed in a house, where we were invited to watch a queer relationship head down a path of destruction towards divorce. Produced in association with Crea Arena Artistry and Anywhere Festival, 2AM is a two-hour iteration of a play initially produced in a shorter form. Impressively, the ‘extended cut’ does not feel like it’s searching for material. The added scenes build the story world and add a layer of nuance to the relationships within the work. I felt connected to the characters because it was a play about young people written by a young person, so the dialogue and scenes felt true to life. What also felt compelling was the way the characters interacted with each other and us as an audience, it felt familiar and you could believe these people were close friends.
The closeness aspect of the piece was both the most engaging and the most discomforting, being in a space that the characters intimately inhabit removed the ability to distance myself from the action in the way a real theatre allows you to. I remember one particular scene in which two characters were sharing a kiss or two, and I found myself looking away as if I were being a peeping tom of something way too intimate to be public. What was even more awkward was walking past them in order to get to the next scene in the dining room – if PDA makes you uncomfortable, this show probably isn’t the best fit for you.
My favourite part of the show was the interval, where the audience was invited to look around the house for clues. We read journals that revealed the inner thoughts of the characters, saw secret photographs and crumpled up drafts of important conversations. The writer of the show, Jason Damot, has said that the play is an opportunity to explore the tropes of relationships through the eyes of queer people, but I would argue that the show is an opportunity to be nosy.
Rarely in theatre do you get the opportunity to engage with characters so intimately that you can read their journal, and 2AM: The Extended Cut is built around the opportunity to observe without judgement. I sincerely hope that 2AM: The Extended Cut continues to develop, as it is an amazing play to watch if you can be nosy about other people’s business. I for one found the gossip highly entertaining.
Eleanor, 19 [she/her]
2AM: The Extended Cut played at a house in Camp Hill until the 18th May.