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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Jamie Hall for POINT BREAK LIVE!

Jamie Hall, director of POINT BREAK LIVE! took a little time to answer some questions regarding the upcoming production, at Galapogos in beautiful Billyburg, Brooklyn.

Ok, so the first question is, of course, what possessed you to make a theater piece out of POINT BREAK?

Point Break LIVE is really a call to arms for the Theatre world. I have long been concerned that Hollywood is stealing our audience away with ass-kicking and action. The proof is in the numbers: I mean, there are, what, like 50 people total who see all the same broadway shows, whereas in New York alone, there were over 120 million movie tickets sold last year alone? You have to ask yourself, why? Why do so many more people react favorably to a great action film than the latest Harold Pinter Bore-fest? I think the answer is that the Theatre world has ceded the true lessons of Aeschylus and Sophocles and the Greeks to Hollywood. I believe that it is Hollywood, and action films in particular, that currently provide that cathartic experience that the human animal so craves.

However, I don’t believe it has to be that way. But the Theatre has to evolve! No more “manifest human drama,” no more meaningful pauses. Let’s put gunfire and ass-kicking back where it belongs, behind the proscenium! Point Break LIVE! Intents to return theatre to its roots. We’re gonna rob you at gunpoint, we’re gonna push you out the door of a moving aeroplane—you won’t even know you are in a theatre.

Do people need to have seen the movie to enjoy the performance?

It is imperative for a true appreciation of the play to see the film as many times as humanly possible. Just as you should have read your bible between Sunday sermons, you should see Point Break between successive viewings of the play. That said, like churchgoing, many may enjoy the experience without performing their due diligence.

Give anyone who hasn’t seen it a description of the film.

It’s a hell of a film. Keanu Reeves stars as an FBI guy deep undercover with some surfer-bank-robbing-extreme-sports-fanatics. He gets in over his head, and chaos ensues. The pursuer becomes that he is pursuing. It is the same plot as Prometheus Bound, only on the beach with surfing. And no sex—but lots of homoerotic overtones.

What makes POINT BREAK the right movie for this kind of Brechtian overhaul?

Point Break is a perfect play for revision, because a. it kicks ass, b. it relates classic themes, of alienation, of the “other” losing his moral compass in an effort to belong, of men changing the world through the power of ideals, and c. it features Keanu Reeves.

Talk about how you “cast” Keanu Reeves and how it’s worked in the past?

Keanu Reeves roles demand a very special kind of actor: basically, you have to look at all times like you’ve just been dropped in the middle of the room and have no idea what is going on. In order to reproduce this unique “tabula rasa” acting style, we select a random person from the audience just moments before the curtain, and then have them read all their lines from cue cards for the duration of the show. This provides just the right “deer caught in the headlights” touch.

It has worked flawlessly just about every time. My highest praise as a director came from a woman who brought her blind date to Point Break LIVE in Minneapolis: she told me later that she made love to him that very night, in no small part moved by his performance.

In your press notes, you say that everyone (even Edward Albee and Tony Kushner) want to be action directors. Does Munich prove this?

Munich is the inversion that proves the rule: absolutely

What are your favorite action films?

King Lear, Electra, Oedipus Rex, Doctor Faustus, and The Fast and the Furious

Do you find (or expect) the audiences in Brooklyn to be different or have a different experience than those in Seattle?

Inasumuch as Point Break LIVE! Is a show that feeds on Hipster complacency, and uses it to fuel a huge, aggressive thrill machine, I expect Williamsburg to be an ideal home for the show. And I expect the audience to get wet.

And believe me, the Hipsters of Seattle’s Capitol Hill easily give the shoe-gazers of Willliamsburg a run for their money.

And last, but not least, what’s next for you after the limited engagement in Galapogos?

My next show will hopefully be the full-cast version of Jesus Christ Superstar performed on the mainstage of Pete’s Candy Store.

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