Point Break Live! is set to return to San Francisco, beginning a limited run at the DNA Lounge on November 1. The hilarious stage show sets to recreate Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 cult hit Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, in a live theater setting. Not content to merely act out the film on stage, it’s an interactive show that finds the audience participating in the action.
Executive Producer and Director Thomas Blake, Jr. give us the low down on the show and what to expect in San Francisco.
What Exactly is Point Break Live?
Point Break Live! is a spoof on the 1991 movie Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. It has surfing and skydiving and bank robbing and all that good stuff. It’s really interactive, so when everyone comes in they all get survival kits. It includes a poncho, because there’s a lot of fake blood and water throughout the show.
Also, you may get robbed at gunpoint so there’s fake money in there that you can give to the robbers. The big kicker is that we pull Johnny Utah—which is the role Keanu Reeves played—out of the audience every night. We ask volunteers to come up on stage and then they go through a little audition, with some lines and some musical stuff, and the audience votes on who they want to be the star of the show for the night. T hen that person gets taken back stage, throws on their costume, and then they have a cue card girl who kind of leads them around and gives them all the lines, and that kind of captures the essence of Keanu Reeves’ acting style pretty well. They get to do all the things they do in the movie that cost a lot of money and we do it all on stage for as little money as possible.
How Was The Stage Show Created?
It was created by a lady named Jaime Keeling in 2001. She had the idea and messed around with it with some of her college friends, and then they ended up mounting the first show in Seattle. Then it moved around a little bit and it came out to L.A. in 2007, which is when I started directing it, and it really took hold here. Shortly after in 2008, we took it to San Francisco for the first time and it ended up running in San Francisco for, pretty much, two years at all kinds of different venues. Then we took a little break for a while and now we’re bringing it back.
Why Do You Think It’s So Successful in San Francisco?
We’ve been in a lot of different cities and every different crowd is different, but I think San Francisco, as opposed to L.A., is a little less worried about being cool, which makes the show really fun. They’re more into being just wild and crazy, and having a good time. I think in San Francisco they really like it because they’re into that type of stuff where they can let loose and not have to sit and stay still in the theater.
When we were in San Francisco, I remember they would take the beer cans and tape them together in these long things and they would get up on stage and have sword fights with them, which you don’t really get in L.A.. People are a little too worried about what people are thinking of them. The San Francisco crowds are always really fun and really into it, so I’m super stoked to be bringing it back up there. I really had a great time doing the shows up there and I love the crowds.
What is it About Point Break that makes it ripe for this free form stage adaptation?
I think it just boils down to certain elements that really work. Since it’s a spoof, you look for movies that would be nearly impossible to do on stage and you figure out ways to do that, and that’s where the comedy comes from. You have people saying “how are you going to skydive on stage?” with a $200 budget. How are you going to surf on stage? How are you going to do all these things that are impossible to do on stage? And you figure out ways to make those things happen and that’s the comedy.
So that’s one element of it, and you also have to find the movies where they have these big lines that people know, like these big iconic lines that people will anticipate throughout and get ready to scream them out when they come. You have the Utah “gimme two” line and “I’m an F.B.I. Agent!” So, it has all those elements. And people always go “Oh my God, it must be so risky picking the lead guy from the audience,” but with this movie it’s really not. You can’t go wrong. It doesn’t matter what they do because it’s always really funny.
What Are You Excited For In This Upcoming San Francisco Run?
When the bank robbers come in, I’m trying to put a couple of them on zip lines so they’re flying over the audience. We’re trying to see if it’s possible to do. There’s a balcony at the DNA Lounge so when I came in there I said “I’ve always wanted to do zip lines, let’s figure this out.” That’s one thing thing that will be a very first for Point Break Live!, barring that I can pull it off.
For the most part we’re bringing a bunch of actors from L.A. because a lot of the actors from up there have moved and are not there anymore, or they’re doing different things. But there’s a couple of them that are coming back to reprise their roles which I’m very excited about. It’s always nice to have some faces you haven’t seen in a while doing it. It’s the kind of show you don’t really figure out until you start doing it—it’s very improvisational—so there will be some surprises for sure.