Thursday, March 04, 2010

Project 365 (63/365): Roller Coaster

.:63/365: Roller Coaster:.

That was close! Whew!

This iconic escape by one of the (obviously) most iconic magicians of our time, Lance Burton, has got to be one of the most gripping performances I’ve ever witnessed in my life.

Think about the mechanics involved in this escape: first of all, Lance is tied down to the tracks of a roller coaster, and meets grave harm and probably even death if he were hit by the roller coaster rushing headlong to greet him. Secondly, he has to struggle and get out in time before he does get hit by the train or anything of the sort. Lastly, he has to time all of this just right so that he won’t kill any suspense in the act by getting out of the ropes too easily and jumping out of the way too soon.

There are so many things that could go wrong in a performance like this. It doesn’t matter how well-trained Mr. Burton was, he had to choreograph this thing to the last second, or else it wouldn’t be nearly as gripping as the performance you saw. If he was too quick at escaping the ropes, then the whole act made no sense. If he was too slow, on the other hand, he would’ve gotten rammed by the roller coaster.

This escape act is one of my favourites because it not only requires a lot of skill, but a very brass pair from the performer. It’s easy to perform dangerous escapes when underwater or behind a curtain because nobody can see you escape and you don’t have to pace yourself to make things anymore exciting. Here, you have no choice but to pace yourself because everyone watching can see your progress as you attempt to make your way out of those restraints.

Personally, if I could do escapes like these on a regular basis and be compensated well for it, I’d love to. I know I could potentially risk life and limb by doing it, but hey, you only live once, and if they make it worth your while, why not? This is one of those routines that you save for a very special occasion and you don’t just bust it out on a regular basis as it loses its value as a special attraction.

You know what amuses me about the comments on the video though? People who insist that the video is fake. Why? Since when did lockpicking, escapology, and plain balls ever become “fake”? One of these days, I’ll be having a few very harsh words with people who like killing faeries in magic, and I can assure you, I’m not going to be very charitable with it.

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