Over 14 explosive seasons, the ‘Mythbusters’ team has tackled the big questions.
If you dropped a penny off of the Empire State building, would it kill someone? Can you curve a bullet? Can you swim through syrup as fast as you can through water?
There’s bad news: “Mythbusters” is coming to an end. Now for the good news: The stars of the show are doing one last live tour together, bringing their unique brand of high-octane science to the Saenger stage at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13.
Adam Savage, who plays the enthusiastic foil to his co-star Jamie Hyneman’s straight man, admitted that adapting the TV series into a live show was tricky.
“It was very peculiar to try and harness what we do on ‘Mythbusters’ and bring it out onstage. …We didn’t just want to do a science demonstration show, and we can’t quite do real experiments where we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” Savage said.
While the live show does feature a few “greatest hits” from the TV series, it is mostly all-new material written specifically for the stage by Savage and company. It also features one major new ingredient: the audience.
“The audience participation really turned out to be the magic bullet. We bring people of all ages up from the audience, we mess with them, and we give them feats of strength, new ways of looking at things, it’s really fun… It’s more like we’re experimenting with the audience.”
The live “Mythbusters” tour was a great opportunity to reconnect with his theater roots, Savage said.
“I’ve spent five years studying acting and theater through high school and college. … It was surprising to find how much of that knowledge came in handy once ‘Mythbusters’ called,” he said.
“I wrote a piece about how juggling taught me how to learn, and it’s one of the pieces that we open the show with. It’s actually one of my favorite bits of writing … and yeah, my theater background features massively into this live show.”
The tour comes in the wake of the news that the upcoming 14th season of “Mythbusters” will also be the last. Savage said that filming the final episode was an intense experience.
“I’ve gone through all the stages of grief. I’ve never had a job this long. This show has fundamentally changed me as a person and changed the way I think, and turned me into a scientist,” Savage said. “I am irrevocably altered in the best way.”
The stage show also features a Q&A section, which gives fans a chance to ask about their favorite “Mythbusters” episodes or even to debate the show’s conclusions.
“I love it when little kids want to challenge results we came up with on ‘Mythbusters’ due to a perceived lack of rigor in our methodology, and they’re usually right,” he said. “I find that to be so exciting … and that’s the way it should work. If they’ve got a question they should be unabashed about asking it.”
This illustrates one of the major goals and legacies of the show: making curiosity cool again.
“I think that, ultimately, the narrative that we’re always telling is one of our own enthusiasm, and that we are enthusiastic about learning and filling in the gaps of our ignorance. … I think that, culturally, we think of science as this black box of facts that ‘other people’ know,” Savage said. “And the key thing I’ve learned making this show is that anyone can do it.”