SOLANA BEACH — It’s 100 percent pure punk rock theater.
For the past several years, Thomas Blake and the troupe behind Point Break Live have been acting out the film “Point Break,” onstage as if they were teenagers with a reckless abandon.
Blake, who produces, directs and acts in the staged performance of the 1991 film starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, joined the production in 2006.
It’s a show filled with fake blood and water squirting all over the place and the audience interaction is only guaranteed.
Though that interaction was only amped up in 2007 when Blake ultimately took over the show’s helm and also, he said, through a little bit of an accident.
It happened when a theater venue for one of their performances fell through at the last minute.
In a scramble, the cast found a bar, Blake explained. It had no stage, and so the actors just started venturing out into the audience because there wasn’t any room to do anything else.
“Then it became this bar crazy interactive thing and that’s when it took off,” Blake said.
But always from its beginnings, someone selected out of the audience has played the part of Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a group of bank robbing surfers — a role made famous (or infamous) by Reeves.
Blake said the part would just be too hard to cast someone to be that bad, or that good.
“In the most respect to Keanu, it was the perfect casting,” Blake said. “He was so bad that it was amazing, and he was also kind of lost and confused the whole time, so no better way to do that than just pick some guy from the audience and throw him out there.”
It’s a question that Blake gets all the time: Can it be risky to have a staged production with a major role being played by someone that might never have acted before?
“If they’re really, really good it’s amazing. If they’re really, really bad, it’s kind of even more amazing. It’s never not worked,” said Blake.
The show is coming to San Diego for just the second time ever during its decade-long run.
Blake has wanted to bring the show down from Los Angeles for a while, because, he said, it’s such a good fit, especially with the surfing community that just get the movie.
It’s kind of like the Cardiff Kook, he said. People that appreciate that, the funniness of that are real surfers.
Though he insists that Point Break Live is a total homage to the film, admitting though, that they do goof on it, too.
As for the film and the stage production’s co-existence, Blake said the pair goes hand-in-hand.
“It’s like a Catch-22. I think that we’ve definitely kept the film in the forefront of the cult status that it already had…but obviously if it wasn’t for the cult status of the movie, the show wouldn’t be what it was.”
Some of the original cast members from the film have performed with the troupe, including Gary Bussey, Lori Petty and even the film’s director Kathryn Bigelow (who has since gone on to win an Academy Award). But so far, no Keanu, though he is aware of the show.
Blake added that he met with Reeves once and tried to convince him to reprise his Utah role.
But if you’re going to audition, Blake had this advice: be loud, be confident and be as Johnny Utah as you can.
The Aug. 30 show at the Belly Up has sold out, but Blake said they’ll for sure be back in the next couple of months with Point Break Live and their other production of “Terminator Too: Judgment Play.” Visit Pointbreakla.com for more information.