Thursday, September 12, 2013

Live Goods: Point Break

From Anthony Hopkins to Hugh Jackman to Daniel Craig, some of today's film best actors began their careers on stage.  For some reason I've never really liked plays too much.  I've seen a few big ones like Cats and Wicked as well as some small ones in black box theaters to support friends and a few in between.  As a film kid in college I crossed paths with the theater department regularly, while some were enjoyable humans many were just loud and obnoxious.  It didn't help that I was forced to see a production of Pirates of Penzance for a class where I couldn't understand a fucking word of the sing song performances.

In exactly one month I'll take in Hugh Jackman's one man show at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.  To warm up, I attended a small show on Theater Row in West Hollywood.  One that was three years in the planning stages before finally attending for a bachelor party, an adaptation of 1991's Point Break.  Before she broke new ground with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, director/writer Kathryn Bigelow gave us one of the greatest action/buddy/thriller's of the last twenty years.  Rookie FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is fresh to Los Angeles and assigned to bank robbery where a band of President mask wearing thieves has hit dozens of establishments and never been caught.  A theory that the Ex-Presidents are a band of surfers sends Utah to the beach where he meets wave and zen master Bohdi (Patrick Swayze, from Road House?!).  Action, chases, extreme sports, meatball subs, Gary Busey, cold pizza, Narco entrapment, random crazy naked lady attacks and bromance ensues.

The stage play version, dubbed Point Break Live! is a continuation of parody performances of Road House and now Terminator where an audience member plays the lead and reads off cue cards.  It's a fun concept with food and drinks available before and during the show so you can make an evening out of it.  The first two rows are subject to being sprayed with water, fake blood and other artificial bodily fluids so they make extra money by selling ponchos.  The performers interact with the audience frequently in kind of an uncomfortable way if you're not expecting it.  I had the impulse of yelling "get your fucking hands off me" but remembered it was just part of the show.  Overall it's a fun night and definitely a memorable experience that only Los Angeles would have thought up.

Here's some of Bigelow's gift for intense kinetic action, just missing some screaming:

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