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The Last of Us: One Night Live

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OneNightLive

The Last of Us: One Night Live was a single musical by Naughty Dog, based on the storyline of The Last of Us. Held at San Diego in late July, 2014,[1] it included a take on the game's alternate ending.[2] It was directed by Neil Druckmann, with Gustavo Santaolalla providing sections from the game's score.[3]

ContentEdit

Events of One Night Live Edit

In preparation for one night live, Druckmann had the cast "flown in from out of town" to perform for the audience. He ensured that they would be off script though only had a small amount of time to rehearse with them. They used basic set pieces (such as tables, chairs and a prop bottle) that resembled a number of scenes, namely the Hospital and apartment scenes. However, they created a complete set for the "secret ending", providing a bed, a swivel chair, a guitar, a headset and cassette player, a wall with posters strewn across it and even a door frame for the actors to use. 

Neil

Neil Druckmann at One Night Live.

Druckmann introduced each cinematic scene as well as providing a short backstory for each one to give the audience, specifically those who hadn't played the game, an idea of when each scene occurred in context with the story. Although he introduced the actors performing, he only did so after the first scene, the one of Sarah and Joel at home before the outbreak. Due to time constraints regarding acquiring the actors, Druckmann arranged for actress Annie Wersching to stand in for those actors in certain scenes, establishing that "[Tess] hasn't magically come back to life". They also had various images on screen to display each the scenes as well, as most didn't use many set pieces or props.

Although the show was a huge success, there was a minor "blooper" when Ashley Johnson fell out of role when she was unable to find the prop gun they were using for the scene where Ellie had just saved Joel from being drowned by a hunter. Troy Baker joked with Druckmann that "they [the actors] had promised him one [mistake]". Regardless, the scene continued onwards with no mistakes occurring regarding lines.

There were, however, minor on the spot changes to the scripts with some lines being improvised around by the actors such as Ashley changing one line from "it's light on the reading"" to "it's got some funny articles" and Troy changing "it's the same basic concept" to "it's the same basic principle". The lights also went off early for some scenes, forcing the actors to cut some lines short. Undeterred by these changes, Drukmann himself still believed they had "nailed it".

Band

Gustavo Santaolalla and his band performing live at the events.

Another, off script, blooper also occurred regarding Druckmann when he joked that the mike backstage had picked him up asking "where is the dirty magazine" live on the online stream, clearing referring to the prop Ashley later used in the driving scene. [4]

Once they had performed all of the scenes present in the games, the stream online ended as they showed only those present in the audience a special "epilogue of the epilogue" scene, depicting Joel and Ellie a few weeks after living in Tommy's community.[5] There is, sadly, no known recording of the event online as it was something Naughty Dog desired to keep a secret although a narrated version was eventually made online of the event. [6]

Epilogue of the epilogueEdit

The One Night Live epilogue is quoted by Druckmann as a way of "saying goodbye" to Joel and Ellie."[7]

The curtain rises and we see Ellie sitting in what appears to be a normal room for a teenage girl in the post-apocalyptic world, with posters all over the wall, some of which, like 'The Dawn of the Wolf' poster were seen earlier in the game. The bedroom is simple: a bed, cuddly giraffe, nightstand, drawers, lamp, desk, and a swivel chair that Ellie is sitting in. She appears to be writing something as she glances out the window, the light of the moon outside lighting her desk. Ellie is listening to her infamous Walkman and headphones, music playing away.

Joel walks in and knocks on the door, calling Ellie's name. After a couple attempts, he enters the room and taps her shoulder, startling her.

"I didn't mean to scare you," Joel starts.

Ellie

Joel/Troy sings for Ellie/Ashley.

Ellie stands up and waves him off, saying that it's okay as she pulls off her headphones. She leans against the desk and, after a bit of an awkward pause, asks Joel "What's up?" There is some tension in the air — when Druckmann set the scene, he said that this was after Joel lied to Ellie, and his intonation made it seem that Ellie was knowledgeable of that fact. This explains the dissonance of the scene and potential resentment Ellie has for Joel.

Joel starts off slowly, saying that they haven't talked for a little while and he wanted to check in on her. He tells her that some kids found some water guns and were playing with them outside that day. He had hoped to have seen Ellie out there playing too. Ellie quickly responds by telling him that she's more needed repairing the outer wall with Maria and that she doesn't have time for that. Sitting down on the corner of the bed, Joel tells her that everyone has been really impressed with Ellie but that it's okay to take a break from work every once in a while. Joel can sense that he isn't getting anywhere and changes the subject.

He talks about how Tommy has made him part of their militia group and that things have "calmed down out there somewhat." Tommy apparently has paired Joel up with a woman named Esther, with Joel confessing that he thinks Tommy wants to see them "hitched."

"She's got a great sense of humor, Ellie... I think you'd like her. Why, just the other day she told me one of them jokes that you like... now how did it go?"

While Joel starts mumbling to himself, trying to remember the joke, Ellie interrupts. She mentions that it is late and that she needs to get going with the additional repairs needed for the outer wall. Joel is a bit deflated, but quickly recovers.

"I have something I want to show you. It'll just take a minute. One minute." Joel leaves through the bedroom door and quickly returns with a guitar in hand.

"What's that supposed to be?" Ellie says, somewhat sarcastically.

"Well I done hear that some people call this a gui-tar." Joel says, really pouring on his Texan accent. He gets a laugh from the audience and a quiet chuckle out of Ellie.

"I know that," Ellie says and asks him again what it is for. Joel sits down on Ellie's bed and confesses that he has been working on a song for some time.

"I started working on it... well, that's not important," hinting that he may have originally begun writing it for Sarah. Ellie sits in her swivel chair, drawing up one of her legs to her chest as Joel begins to play and sing select verses from "Future Days" by Pearl Jam.

The performance is tender as Joel sings about the pain that they've gone through and how much it means to him that they still have each other — "you and I." It is uncertain whether or not it was Ashley Johnson or what Ellie was supposed to be doing, but as Troy/Joel performed, Ashley/Ellie silently shed a few tears, wiping them away slowly. As the guitar and Joel fall silent, an emotional Ellie quietly responds "That was beautiful, Joel." The tension and distance between Joel and Ellie is gone now, replaced with genuine fatherly-daughterly love.

Joel thanks Ellie, stands and extends the guitar to her.

"What... I can't play, Joel."

"I know... but I promised you that I would teach you how to play guitar. Take it. It's yours."

Ellie, touched that Joel remembered, reaches out and takes it saying, "You did." A warm silence falls and Joel begins to excuse himself. "It's getting late and we both need our rest." Joel heads for the door as Ellie falls back into her swivel chair.

"What was the joke you heard the other day?" Ellie says, breaking the silence and bringing Joel to a full stop before exiting through the door.

Joel turns around, and with a soft smile on his face asks, "What's the hardest part about eating clocks?" Ellie shakes her head and puts up her hands, giving up.

Joel smirks and says, "It's time consuming."

They both share a little laugh. "That is pretty bad," a smiling Ellie responds. "Yeah, it's one of the worst I've heard," says Joel. "Well, goodnight, Ellie." Joel walks out the door, a little slow to remove his hand from the door frame.

Ellie picks up the guitar to her chest and looks it over slowly. She rests it in her lap and plucks a single note as the lights come down.[8]

CastEdit

Cast

The cast of One Night Live. From left to right: Hana Hayes, Annie Wersching, Merle Dandridge, Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson and Gustavo Santaolalla.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ​Watch The Last of Us: One Night Live, Right Here
  2. For One Night, The Last Of Us Was A Musical
  3. Watch The Last of Us Performed Live
  4. One Night Live, performed live!
  5. Neil Druckmann - Tweet about One Night Live
  6. One Night Live: Epilogue narration
  7. Venture Beat Article on One Night Live Epilogue
  8. IGN Blog - One Night Live Epilogue

External linksEdit

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