Escape Artist

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    Your “Escapology” and pole videos reminded me of something I’ve thought about for years and am surprised that no one seems to have done yet: “Escape Artist” vignettes with a damsel-in-distress twist. There have been scenes in movies such as The Prestige and on “Circus of the Stars”* that were similar in concept, but I’d like to see something sexier.

    The basic scenario would be for the “Escape Artist” to come onstage wearing a revealing outfit, be bound in front of the audience, placed in some sort of peril, and a timer started, counting down to zero. For each specified period of time she struggles unsuccessfully (30 seconds, a minute, whatever) she loses an article of clothing, until she is nearly (or actually) nude. At the last possible instant, she escapes: “Ta-Da!”

    Potential scenes:

    – Burning at the stake. A stake or cross atop what appears to be a stack of wood. For added tension, when the timer counts down it lights a fuse or “wall of fire” that rushes towards our heroine, who frees herself and leaps to the side just before (apparently) the stake ignites.

    – The Gallows. A grim-looking gallows with the timer attached theatrically to the trap door, ostensibly set to trip it when time runs out. As soon she escapes and jumps away, it drops open.

    – Shark tank. Timer attached to a dunk tank mechanism over a shark tank, girl bound in chains. As she hops off the platform the timer dings cheerfully, and it falls. This could probably be done without water at all, using split screen with aquarium footage of sharks on the lower screen.

    In reality, of course, the timer – which would be shown in some corner of the screen – wouldn’t control anything. Everything would be controlled manually, to allow maximum safety at minimum cost. Another nice safety feature is that film allows much more control than a live stage where literally anything can happen. Also, it isn’t as limited by real time; cuts and close-ups and changes in camera angle would cover adjustments made to fit the timing.

    After all, pioneer cinematographer Georges Melies was actually a magician who was attracted to film by its capacity to create realistic illusions. This would be something of a return to the roots of cinema, albeit a kinky one!

    *Piper Perabo in The Prestige:
    Michelle Lee on “Circus of the Stars”:

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