Danger Circus Takes The Stage at Mason City, Illinois' Historic Arlee Theater
Strandbeest Handler #4 was having some trouble. It was time to promenade, and her charge—a ten-foot-long scaffold of tan PVC pipes, flanked by two outstretched sails—had stage fright. Its 12 legs, normally eager to show off their perfectly calibrated stride, were frozen in place. As she tugged on one of its extremities, the scratchy sounds of plastic feet dragging on cement cut through Boston’s City Hall Plaza, and an onlooker cried out: “The Beest is resisting!”
Resistance was futile—the Strandbeests, artist Theo Jansen’s herd of self-propelled, autonomous-seeming mechanical “animals,” are on their first ever U.S. tour, and the humans in charge are making the most of it. This Beest soon fell into step behind its brother, who sported sharp-edged plastic wings instead of sails, and they did round after round of the small corral, posing for pictures like huge, skeletal show ponies.