'Mythbusters' stage show brings science to audience

During a Mythbusters: Behind the Myths tour appearance Jamie Hyneman tests his strength on the High Striker while Adam Savage waits to see the result.



Translating their popular television series into a live theatrical event was tricky for the MythBusters team. In a live setting, there can’t be the high-powered weapons or massive explosions such as the ones seen on the small screen.

“We had trouble figuring out that one,” said Jamie Hyneman, the beret-wearing member of the MythBusters team. “We resisted doing a stage show for that very reason, but there was a lot of demand for us to come out.”

Hyneman and co-host Adam Savage will take the Bell Auditorium stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. Tickets are $40-$150 from the box office at James Brown Arena, www.georgialinatix.com or (877) 4AUGTIX.

Rather than re-creating the television show, the stage version pays homage to what Hyneman calls their “playful” approach to science and experimentation and utilizes audience participation.

Hyneman declined to give away the show secrets, but he did highlight one example in the show featuring the use of a high-speed camera. Recording something such as the face of a person making a “raspberry” sound is more complex than it seems.

“When you play back the high-speed camera, it’s disgusting and amazing at the same time,” he said.

MythBusters has been on the Discovery Channel since 2003. In its history, the show has provided many harrowing moments for Hyneman.

“There’s one that hasn’t aired yet. It’s in the new season. I bungee jump for apples from a tower that’s 100 feet above a barrel of apples. I don’t like heights that much,” he said.

Another episode pitted Hyneman against the tornado effect of a 747-plane engine. Though he did have on a safety harness, he knew that if the experiment went awry, he could be slung about on the end of the tether or worse.

Hyneman said there has not been a myth he wouldn’t try to bust. The stunts on the show are safety-tested. Once they are approved, there’s no turning back.

“We’re going to do it – scared or not,” he said.

When Hyneman first signed on to do the show, he saw it as a way to make a living, but he said he’s gained so much more in 11 seasons.

“The things we have learned have been mind-blowing,” he said.

The myths they explore have heightened his knowledge of science and given him insight into how things work. The stage show has given him another type of insight.

“One thing that has shocked me is the audience demographics,” he said. “They are quite evenly distributed. There are old people; there are a lot of kids. There are college students, engineers, professionals. It crosses both sexes. It appeals to such a large group, and it’s a science-based show. If we’d tried to set out to make a show that appealed to that group, I don’t know how we would have done it.”