The Last Resort - Surfing Scene

The Last Resort



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The Plays

The Last Resort 
A Mother's Voice 
Children of the Blitz 

The Surfing Scene

This is one of my favourite scenes in the whole play and can have great visual impact if you do it well. If you have the script you may be wondering why I say you should use shopping trolleys for this scene! Well there is method in my madness - both in terms of theatricality and context.

I  really wanted to have movement in this scene and it needed to be controlled. Since we couldn't actually surf on stage, I thought it was much better to find a solution that fitted the context of the play rather than imitated real surfing. Thus skateboards were instantly rejected. Skateboards instantly have their own context and are seen as such rather than as surfboards. They are also noisy and tricky to use.

If you take an early morning walk along the prom of any large seaside town you will find shopping trolleys littered all over the place. This is usually due to excited and drunken youths racing in them along the prom the previous evening. Therefore I decided that by using shopping trolleys we could have a theatrical solution that was within the context of the play! With the surfers standing in the trolleys they also introduce a nice variation in height as they will be around two feet above ground level!

The trolleys are concealed off stage until they are needed. When the surfers enter to the tune of "Surfs Up" by the Surfaris the result can be hysterical. I had each trolley steered by two other cast members in a carefully choreographed pattern across the stage while the surfers performed "tricks" as they went (two wipe outs in numerous performances isn't bad!). The trolleys are finally brought to rest across the centrestage for the dialogue (I also had the pushers perform an early 60's style go-go dance at one point!).

At the end of the dialogue as the surfers scream "Wipe out!", they fall back into their trolleys and are swiftly wheeled off stage by the pushers under cover of a blackout.

I'm sure that there are other ways of doing this scene but I do advise you to leave skateboards well alone. Oh and the best shopping trolleys! Well in our experience Waitrose are the best, providing a smooth ride and a slightly shallower basket than other supermarkets. They are also generally amenable to lending them out so long as you give them a mention in the programme and some free advertising.

Be warned, however shopping trolleys are not intended for this purpose and  you should be careful not to stress them too much or they could collapse. Keep the weight on the back foot as much as possible and try not to use 16 stone surfers! If at all in doubt making your own push along surf boards using heavy duty stage truck wheels may be the answer.

Incidentally the trolleys also come in useful for wheeling cast members along the streets of Edinburgh and distributing leaflets selling your show! You are sure to get noticed but watch for the cracks in the pavement!