Perorming Challenge Escapes. Don’t be surprised if you ask 2 volunteers to help then as soon as you’re somewhat off-balance, 6 more rush on-stage and try their best to make life difficult for you.. Expect that it can happen because it occasionally does. that means you should probably only sell your act, as a challenge act, after you have been performing escapes a number of times
Don’t be surprised if drunk people ignore your directions. It happens. it happens during magic shows and escape shows but usually the only person in an escape show, that gets hurt, is you.
Don’t be surprised if your own helpers, that are friends as opposed to seasoned assistants, are chatting-it-up with the audience and they let the rope slip, so you fall on your head. A good rule of thumb is to practice the entire escape 20 to 50 times and ig you can allow your assistant to take your place so they experiance a little bit of what you will.
Escapes are not like magic inasmuch as sometimes you get a few people that try to screw with your sleights, answer your questions in a converse mannor or sit in the audience explaing their therory as to how the illusion works. When presenting escapes you might have the entire audience screw with you and their attempts may be of a phisical nature. (I remember one show at a coffee house at a college, They were brutal). So you have to present eswcapes where you are absoultly certain you will sucseed. An Escape Artist is not a gambler – An escape Artist is a showman.
As you are being secured the audience roots for the volunteers to make sure you’re not getting out. After you commence with the escape itself -and- the audience realises that you’re at their mercy, their attitude changes, they root for you to sucseed. (It has something to do with a guilt-trip) The tide changes and they are uaually are on your side – EXCEPT where there is money involved and a time limit, ala the 100 foot rope tie. In this case the audience response can be shear pandemonium as you get close to the bell. They want their friends to win that challenge bet, no matter if it’s ahundred dollars or five thousand. It’s not the amount you offer, it’s the principle of the bet.
There are times when you need to take action to protect yourself and/or the secrets of the modus operandi.While i myself have never done this, I understand that various EAs have kicked people off stage to protect themselves. I also understand that Houdini had a few people in the audience, ready to grab unruly people and hustle them out the door. That was a different time but the message is still clear. When you perform challenge escapes you need to have a safety crew and know what you’re doing.