You – The Finale of Captivated by They Played Productions
Twelve missing women. A creator playing God. Multiple outcomes. The end of Captivated is here.
You is the finale of They Played Productions’ three-act (plus two mini-chapters) immersive production, Captivated. You can read our reviews of Act One: Justine and Act Two: Victoria, as well as catch up on the overall story so far here.
Captivated Act Three: You resolves the mysteries presented in Acts One and Two, revealing the truth of what’s really been going on throughout the series. During the show, guests will be offered a chance to get involved – and make a difference – or to refuse, if they see no good options. Their choices play a pivotal role in setting the stage for the show’s climax, and in determining the characters’ ultimate fates in this intricately crafted modern horror saga.
Piecing Things Together
Twelve women have gone missing in Silverlake. All young, all pretty, and all last seen entering the same apartment. Mike Stone, a disgraced reporter-turned-Lyft-driver, has spotted the pattern and is determined to uncover the truth. His investigation leads him to four seemingly innocuous people: psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Polidori, the owner of said apartment; her patient Ely Lavenza, a drama professor at a local community college; Ely’s wife Justine; and Henry Clerval, Ely’s technical assistant. But things went south for Mike, and he is now in Henry’s clutches. As people Mike trusts, we have been enlisted by his hacker friend Emma G. Nation to help free him. What we don’t know is that Victoria, Ely, and Henry are expecting us. Their grand plan is nearing completion, and they want us to bear witness to their final triumph.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD (Skip to The Unraveling)
As we have already learned, people are not who they seem to be. On the surface, Ely is the mastermind, on the cusp of perfecting the dark science of resurrection with the help of assistants Victoria and Henry. They have created Justine by connecting funeral director Abby Woodward’s head onto a different woman’s body, wiping her memory, and using deep hypnosis to create the “Justine” personality. But, of course, there’s more to the story. Ely didn’t do a good enough job of burying Abby, and now she and Justine are fighting one another for control. Rather than continue the experiments, he wants the killing to stop and to bring his victim peace. Victoria, meanwhile, quietly pulls the strings and seeks to bring back her dead husband, Grant. Unbeknownst to the others, she plans to cut ties by any means necessary as soon as she can convince her “master” to revive Grant. With so many secrets and ulterior motives, there is plenty for audience members to uncover and, if they choose, to disclose.
Bodies in Motion
The acting in Captivated has been solid throughout the series, but Sarah Morris as a conflicted Abby/Justine is a revelation. In her Jekyll-and-Hyde portrayal, Morris ran the gamut of emotions, from spouting profanities at us and demanding answers, to pleading with us to help her become an independent woman. She lets us into Justine’s damaged head clearly and honestly, even while restrained. Writer/Director of Captivated, Erik Blair as Ely/Danny was given a fantastic moment to shine in Act Two: Victoria, and this time taps into a more conniving and calculated persona, yet still deftly softens in private.
Stepy Kamei’s Victoria secretly controls the situation, calmly letting Ely think he’s in charge. Kamei expertly converses with audience members, clearly comfortable in Victoria’s scheming role. Josh Ritz is appropriately creepy and hostile as menacing Henry. Katie Conrad as Emma is tasked with setting the tone for the evening and filling the audience in on what they may have missed in the previous installments. During my experience, I did not interact with Glenn David (Mike) or Austin Schumacher (Grant).
Captivated Act Three: You is created for guests that have attended every Act, including the mini-chapters in between, as well as those completely new to the story. Based on Frankenstein, You boasts 30 possible endings depending on audience choices throughout the night. Audiences of eight will be split into smaller groups, led on different tracks, and presented with decisions to make within the story that will directly affect the narrative ending. While not sandbox-style in nature, You gives guests plenty of agency when interacting with the various characters, and within the circumstances.
Since information is doled out in breadcrumbs by each respective character, some in attendance might find it frustrating that they are not privy to all of the information in such a twisted plot. But that is also the beauty of this real life-like structure, and it offers the opportunity for repeat visits and varied outcomes.
Creator or Monster?
While my own experience had a less conclusive ending than I would have preferred (I would have liked to see some characters get their comeuppance), others I’ve spoken to had groups whose choices they felt led to a more satisfying result. Regardless, Captivated Act Three: You is a gleeful spider’s web of intrigue and gothic horror. Occasionally, it felt like a character was trying to sway our decisions, asking if we were sure we wanted to follow through with the choice we made. And, once a decision was made, certain scenes went on a touch too long, presumably for other tracks to catch up to the timeline. But in this real-world scenario, nothing is perfect, not even a marriage or a custom-made cadaver brought back to life. In the end, Captivated Act Three: You is simultaneously ambitious and intimate in its scope, with some top-notch performances offsetting a few hiccups here and there.
As audience members, you decide whether you let events unfold as they are, or if you make a stand to stop the proceedings. You are ultimately left with the question: Who is the real monster?
WARNING: There is a prop gun used in the production, but it is never fired.