top of page

[Review] “Wipeout” a Play by Aurora Real de Asua

By A.M. Larks


I was lucky enough to catch the California World Premiere of “Wipeout” by Aurora Real de Asua on the closing weekend at the B Street Theatre in Sacramento. The play is part of the New Play Network, which has introduced the idea of the rolling world premier to audiences. This is where a play is premiered across the country in three different locations at three consecutive performances. This improves the play as each performance gains the knowledge and experience of the last, as input from each crew and cast as each are different at each location and allows for a wider audience reception. “Wipeout” first premiered in Chicago and will leave Sacramento and journey on to Massachusetts this summer.


“Wipeout”, as the name may suggest, is a surf comedy play. Three retired life-long female friends (Claudia, Wynn, and Gary) are out on the water for their very first surf lesson from Blaze, their young hot surf instructor. As you can imagine, the play is hilarious and goofy in all the best ways, especially being set entirely in the open water. The “surfing” was ingenuously captured by placing the actors on surfboard-shaped boards on wheels, allowing the actors to move up and down the stage and into each other just as one would do in the ocean.


An undercurrent of the “three old ladies” surfing for the first time is tragedy, which pairs beautifully with the comedic elements of the play. There is strife amongst the friends. They are there for Claudia’s birthday (or are they?). Wynn does not know Gary is coming. She has not seen Gary in two years and their parting was not amicable. Claudia has lied to bring them together. Gary has a memory condition and, might (or might not) be getting better. Each character, too, is dealing with the tribulations that age brings: deaths of spouses, and the like.


Each character is facing their land-locked fears—Blaze included—out on the water. The play stands for the universal knowledge that that by being out on the water, being connected to this larger force, has a healing and empowering effect on your life. Blaze has a beautiful monologue describing what riding a wave is like, which begins “The thing about waves is that they don’t actually exist …” and continues to explain that waves are just energy that flows throw water. The “energy of the universe is in a wave and when you ride one you are among the stars.”—a line in a monologue that could only have been written by a surfer.


I heard someone once describe theatre similarly. It is a transient state, a play. An agreement, an alchemy of audience agreement, actors’ portrayal, stage preparation, and playwright’s imagination. It has an energy of its own. It is alive. None more so than this one. Characters—and the audience—feel every emotion on the water: anger, fear, joy, hope, solace. That Gary’s condition is not better, that she is going in a care facility, only makes it sweeter that she has surfing and riding a wave to end on. “Wipeout” is theatrical perfection on water.



 A.M. Larks’s writing has appeared in NiftyLitScoundrel TimeAssay: A Journal of Nonfiction StudiesFive on the FifthCharge Magazine, and the  ZYZZYVA  and  Ploughshares  blogs. She has served as a judge for the Loud Karma Productions’ Emerging Female and Nonbinary Playwriting Award and has performed her stories at Lit Up at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, CA. She is the managing editor and blog editor at Kelp Journal. She is the former fiction editor at Please See Me, the former blog editor at The Coachella Review, as well as the former photography editor at Kelp Journal. A.M. Larks earned an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside at Palm Desert, a JD, and a BA in English literature.



bottom of page