Penn & Teller create a new dance for Pilobolus
Teller talks about working with Pilobolus in a new work that explores the art of escape: [esc]
Thu Jun 27 2013
Time Out New York: Let’s go back to the piece where you said you put on music and watched them escape. What is the music?
Teller: I haven’t heard the latest choices. I think “Whipping Post” is one. [Laughs] They seem to be the masters of picking really nice, sexy music. And certainly there’s a powerful sexual aspect to pretty much everything they do, so that’s all appropriate.
Time Out New York: How do you see Pilobolus as being sexy?
Teller: Practically naked people in chains and ropes? What’s not sexy about that? You have marvelous physical bodies in positions of peril, suffering and writhing. That seems like just sex to me.
Time Out New York: Is this piece made up of different sections or do you consider it one work?
Teller: It’s almost like a little suite. The first movement is the audience members coming onstage and building a box that these people are going to escape from during intermission. By the time we come to the last escape, which is the one that Houdini made famous—he called it the “Metamorphosis”—everybody’s involved in that in a very joyful sort of way.
Time Out New York: What was “Metamorphosis”?
Teller: One person is bound and stuck in a cloth bag that’s tied from the outside, thrown into a box, and the box is then closed. In Houdini’s day, they just used locks, but we use locks and very powerful nylon straps that are used to lift heavy things in shipyards that are cinched down over the box from all directions, so the idea of a trapdoor becomes impossible. And then instantaneously the person who was inside is suddenly found outside, and the one person who was outside is found completely bound up back in the bag and bound on the inside. It’s an amazing thing, and Houdini did it very, very well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the quality of work that these guys do wouldn’t give Houdini a serious run for his money.
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