I'm soaking wet, disheveled, and I smell like a mixture of suntan lotion and shame. I haven't just returned from a wild party on the beach, although the event I have returned from did resemble a wild college party in a concrete basement - complete with reckless perverted humor and people wrestling in a baby pool by the end of it as others sprayed them with water guns full of cold water.
I've actually just returned from a theater. It was my third annual partaking of Point Break Live! at Alley Theater; although some of the cast and props have changed, I was not let down in shaming and wowing the friends I invited. A standing ovation even ensued the parody written by Jaime Keeling, which makes fun of the 1991 cult film Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.
The low budget (okay, crappy) props and sets add to the sheer hilarity with stunts like someone dressed as a cloud (a large blue t-shirt covered in cotton balls) doing ballet leaps across the stage spitting cotton balls out of their mouth during a skydiving scene as the poor soul playing Keanu Reeves is swung around on a harness to simulate falling through the air.
I say "poor soul" because the person playing Reeves didn't know he would be performing when he arrived at the theater. The premise behind this obnoxious comedy is that anyone can act as well as Reeves (or better), so they take volunteers who are put through an on stage "audition" at the beginning of the show. The audience chooses the person who will go forth as Johnny Utah, and tonight's winner (Arjun Ponnambalam) had actually been coaxed very heavily to take a chance. Despite being a reluctant contestant, he was a great Utah and even better sport as a "production assistant" pushed and pulled him around the stage; She did her job well, embarrassing him and shoving cue cards in his face before flinging them into the audience (seriously - watch for flying cue cards) as she made fun of his phonics or ability to look angry.
The play is produced in a small intimate area of the Alley Theater, which is in the basement of The Pointe building. I've seen it previously produced on a stage, and the intimate setting really works better for the HIGH amounts of audience interaction. The actors easily run through the audience, messing with the folks sitting there, and even make them get on the ground at "gun point" during the robbery scenes.
Don't wear anything too nice to the show. Even though you'll have a "poncho" to wear, you still run the risk of being hit with a random array of bodily fluids and storm or ocean water (Simulated - it's really just water, lotion, food dye, etc). There was so much water on the ground by the end of the show, it looked like small ponds. I have to say tonight's storm was a perfect addition. It added real emphasis in moments - like when Pappas set down a toy vanity and said "This is the evidence table", followed by a loud clap of thunder outside as if to add dramatic flare. Even the cast back stage laughed.
I usually try to list something about each of the cast and crew members individually, but this year I'm just going to say the entire cast and crew gave it their all and deserved the standing "o" - including the puppet. It seems they weren't just short on prop funds this year. They must have also been short on actors - the fourth surfer was played by a puppet on the hand of one of the surfers, which was kind of hilarious. You won't see a cast work harder to make sure you are left feeling abused and amused.
If you're not ashamed to partake in an evening of dirty humor, ingenious use of very little props, and rolling fits of laughter (mostly at the expense of the unpracticed Reeves audience member/actor being embarrassed repeatedly), then you definitely don't want to miss this year's production of Point Break Live! You probably won't tell Grandma or your priest about it, but you'll tell just about everyone else.
Photo: Arjun Ponnambalam hangs from a harness to portray Keanu Reeves falling through the air.
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