Discovery of the Week: Point Break Live!

Yesterday was my company holiday party. Normal office parties tend to involve things along the lines of potlucks, ugly sweater contests, dessert competitions, and other such festivities. Not my office though. No. After a series of games in the afternoon, including things like trivia and very intense dodgeball matches, we all gathered in the office for the big surprise entertainment they had been hyping all week, which brings me to my discovery of the week: Point Break Live!

Yes it is a thing, and yes, it is epically awesome. It is exactly what it sounds like. Actors recreate the cult classic film about an undercover FBI agent joining a group of surfing bank robbers, on stage. It is just as ridiculously entertaining as the film (maybe even a little more so).

WARNING

This is an interactive theater experience. The cast members come into the audience several times during the performance, getting more than a little physical sometimes, you will get wet, probably with both water and fake blood, and you may even get the chance to star in the show. At each performance an audience member is chosen to play the key role of Johnny Utah. Seriously, this happens. A couple of volunteers come up on stage and after a short “audition,” the audience chooses who they want by cheering for their favorite. They then get to watch this poor person make a fool of themselves (in the best way possible) for the next two hours, and it is awesome.

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The show was so much more entertaining than I expected. It helps that I saw it with a bunch of people I work with and know, and that the Johnny Utah who was chosen was one of those people. I still think it would be just as hilarious seeing it at their usual venue. Tickets start around $30 and there are several packages that can be purchased to enhance your viewing experience. I think it is totally worth the cost of admission and I am even looking into going with my family.

Best office holiday party I’ve ever been to.

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Discovery of the Week: “Emma Approved”

A little over a year ago I discovered this charming little web series titled, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.”

In case you didn’t pick up on the reference in the title, the series is a modern take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. Presented as a grad school new media project, Lizzie (Elizabeth) Bennet shares her life, and that of her sisters, with the internet. It is well executed and cleverly updated for this day and age.

It was co-created by Bernie Su, and Hank Green, who gained fame with his project “Brotherhood 2.0,” where he and his brother communicated almost solely through vlogs for a year. I haven’t yet seen the series of videos but I loved “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” so I’m interested to see where Green got his start.

With Lizzie’s success came a Kickstarter campaign, an Emmy, and the creation of a few spin offs, including one of Austen’s short stories, Sanditon.

Most recently (my newest discovery) “Emma Approved,” which is a modern version of Austen’s Emma, has turned up on the internet. And I LOVE it! I’m a huge fan of Austen’s work and I’ve always eagerly sought out new adaptations. So when I heard the creators of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” were taking on Emma, I was thrilled. In the series Emma is a kind of life counselor and match maker. She works with Mr. Knightley, who is also a family friend, and Harriet Smith, who is her eager, although slightly awkward assistant.

I think they got the essence of Emma perfect and I like the interpretations of the other characters. I really like their Mr. Knightley and I love the actress they got to play Emma. I’m still catching up on episodes as I only realized a week ago that they had started uploading videos but so far it’s good.

The success of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and this new series make me wonder if they’ll tackled any other Austen works. My personal favorite is Persuasion and I would be very interested to see how they would update that story.