Reviewed by Erin Murray
50 minutes | Dramedy | R
It is the year 2020, and doctor-assisted suicide is now legal. A process has been designed to screen applicants who are considering taking their own lives and help them to do it in the cleanest, most dignified way possible. Your favourite song is playing, you push a button, and shuffle off the mortal coil leaving no unpleasant mess for your family to clean up. It is a testament to our civilized society.
While designing the suicide program, two of the researchers made a discovery: in the moments before death, in the five seconds between when your hand leaves the railing of the bridge and when you hit the cold water below, your brain flashes through all your memories and tells all your secrets. What’s more, they’ve discovered a way to capture and filter those images and read your secrets.
The writing is excellent; J.P. Chartier offers us a fascinating look at euthanasia in the future and its effects on the patients’ families. His rapid dialogue and sharp characters are electrifying.
But a well-written play will only get you so far; you need strong, talented actors to pull the thing off, and this show has them in spades. John Collins commands the stage in his role as Ben, the doctor who is heading up the assisted-suicide program. He delivers a heart-stopping monologue early on in the show that left the audience stunned. J.P Chartier and Thea Nikolic are captivating to watch as they fire lines back and forth with expert timing. They bring the struggling marriage of Allison and Patrick to the stage with passion and earnestness, and manage to breathe new life into the difficulties of getting close to another person.
Top that off with some flashy audiovisual effects and a great musical score and you’ve got 2020 – a firecracker of a show that is not to be missed!
2020 by J.P. Chartier is a production of the Artbeat Theatre Group and is playing at the Arts Court Theatre on Saturday June 16 at 6:30pm, Sunday June 17 at 8:00pm, Tuesday June 19 at 5:00pm, Wednesday June 20 at 6:30 pm and Saturday June 23 at 10:00pm. Tickets are $10 each.