Interactive play pays homage to 'Point Break'

Ever dreamed of starring in the 1991 cult favorite movie “Point Break”? Now is your chance.

“Point Break Live!” — 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at The Belly Up — parodies “Point Break,” which features Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent who infiltrates a gang of surfers who rob banks.

The live action play begins with a twist — the audience picks who among them will play Reeves’ role, Johnny Utah, alongside professional actors. The person who is chosen is handed a wetsuit and fed lines via cue cards.

“The person is led around like a deer in headlights, and that’s sort of Keanu’s thing — the deer-in-headlights look — so it works out really well,” said Thomas Blake, the play’s director and producer, with a laugh.

Blake said the show is a tribute to the movie’s unintentionally hilarious dialogue and action (a fan favorite from “Point Break” — Reeves firing a gun into the air and yelling).

The live show re-enacts “Point Break” from start to finish, so count on robbers in Richard Nixon masks, skydiving and an epic 50-year storm — re-created with squirt guns.

Blake described it as “rock ’n’ roll theater.”

“It’s theater for people who don’t necessarily like theater,” he said. Blake added: “The stigma that theater is super-controlled and only for older crowds — we shatter that whole thing.”

Blake, who grew up surfing in North Carolina, said “Point Break” was a guilty pleasure as a teen.

“From a surfer’s point of view, it’s so bad that it’s so good.”

In 2007, Blake leapt at the chance to direct West Coast productions of the show, saying he’s proud to be involved in a project both his surfer and theater friends can appreciate. And the movie’s cast apparently enjoys the play, too.

Actor Gary Busey, who portrayed Angelo Pappas, Johnny Utah’s FBI mentor in the film, joined the actors on stage during a “Point Break Live!” show a while back.

“We couldn’t get him off the stage,” Blake said. The movie’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, came to a show in 2007 and is also a fan. But what about Reeves?

“We haven’t gotten him to come yet,” Blake said. He jokingly added that if the actor shows up, he hopes he’ll be picked to portray Johnny Utah.

Blake said the goal is to keep the play fresh, so the script is constantly reworked. And it helps, he added, that a new Johnny Utah is picked every show — everyone from an 85-year-old man to a guy who didn’t speak English has played the part.

“Point Break Live!” is a staple in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Blake said The Belly Up was chosen to host the play, given the concentration of surfers in the area. If it’s a success, the play could be regularly held there, he said.

“We’re testing the waters,” he said.

He added that the play appeals to a wide audience, but surfers will find it especially funny.

“Surfers pick up on some of the more subtle things in the movie that are cheesy or aren’t quite realistic. Like one shot will be 12-foot waves in Hawaii, and then the next shot will be 2-foot waves at El Porto.”

To buy tickets, visit www.bellyup.com.

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