On TV, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage check out a host of urban legends on each episode of the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters.”
Often, those tests involve wrecking cars or blowing things up.
When Hyneman and Savage bring their live show to the stage at the INB Performing Arts Center tonight, they promise there won’t be any big explosions. But fans can expect a high-energy show with lots of hands-on fun.
Translating their show for the stage wasn’t easy. Obviously Hyneman and Savage can’t re-create huge explosions or other dangerous stunts on a theater stage. And the typical nature of the show – they come up with a concept, don’t know how it will work, then spend time trying to figure it out – wouldn’t necessarily translate to riveting theater.
“We couldn’t have the audience sitting there for 25 minutes” while we tried to figure something out, Savage said.
“We tried to capture the energy and the true sense of the show,” Savage said.
They’ve set their on-stage experiments up so that they have a good idea how it will turn out. But ultimately, Hyneman said, “what actually happens is up to the audience.”
And the audience members have quite a say.
“We bring up tons of people from the audience,” Savage said. “We seed the theater with waivers. There’s a waiver in every fifth seat. When we call for volunteers, we tell people to wave their waivers. It’s like a game show.”
Hyneman and Savage are both surprised by the level of enthusiasm the audience brings to the show.
“The level of fervor we’re getting from the audience is bowling us over,” Savage said. “It’s wonderful.”
Adding to the fun is the safety precautions the volunteers must undergo, Hyneman said.
“We have to put them in quite a variety of safety equipment,” he said, “which is in and of itself pretty hilarious.”
Savage has a background in theater and television. He did commercials and auditioned for roles as a young man. “(Performing) is something I always wanted to do. I just gave it up for 20 years or so to go off and make things,” he said.
Being on “Mythbusters” is the best of both worlds – he can perform and make things at the same time.
For Hyneman, who describes himself as “antisocial,” performing is the furthest place from where he expected to be.
“I had no idea that would ever happen. I had no desire for it. It’s about the most bizarre thing that could have ever happened to me,” he said. “It’s something that allows me to do something that is a lot of fun.”
The show has so far attracted a lot of kids and their families, which the hosts love.
“There’s not a lot of things that a family can all go to together and get something fun out of it,” Hyneman said. “Everybody seems to get what we’re doing.”