On The Beach

A Play by Dale Gutzman inspired by the novel by Nevil Shute

September 2011

OFF THE WALL THEATRE is proudly presented the first show of its twelfth season, a stage version of Nevil Shute's award winning novel ON THE BEACH. 

You may recall it as a film that starred Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck, and Fred Astaire.  The book was recently included in the top twenty Science Fiction novels of all time. But it is so much more than that. 

It ranks as one of the greatest love stories ever written. More Science than Science Fiction, the novel and show take place in Melbourne Australia, as the last survivors on earth after a nuclear war wait for the radiation to reach them. They go about their ordinary lives, trying to work out the problems of life with the cloud of death hanging over them. Far from being depressing, the story deals with not so much how we face death, but how we cope with life. It explores how people try to find meaning in their lives, how they deal with marriage and family, and how they dream of making a contribution to the future of the world. 

The question the show asks is not, "Why do we die," but rather "Why do we live?"  Marilyn White stared as Moira, an alcoholic partier, adrift in a meaningless life who falls in love with Commander Dwight Towers of the U.S, Navy, played on our stage by playwright and Director Dale Gutzman.  The book has long been one of Gutzman's favorites.  Playing Peter and Mary, a young couple with a child who struggle with facing reality in the face of disaster, were Liz Mistele and Jeremy Welter. And in the role of the biochemist bomb-maker trying to justify his life was David Roper.  Filling out the cast were Barbara Zaferos and Thomas Welcenbach as Peter and Mary's staunch Christian neighbors, and Lawrence Lukasavage as Sir Douglas Froude, a member of the old military establishment. The show is gentle, and lovely and filled with wonderful memorable moments. These characters come together with love and hope and a sense of caring. Gutzman promises "one of the most beautiful evenings spent in the theatre" in a long long time. 

Here is a drama that made the audience think and awakened feelings long buried. Yes, it is about our responsibilities to each other and to our planet, but it is also about the power of love. This show is also as timely and vital as today's world headlines. It is essential viewing for anyone interested in the future of our earth!