Watch out for flying chainsaws

Extreme jugglers The Passing Zone at Edison Theatre May 6-7

From clubs and machetes to bowling balls and members of the audience, Owen Morse and Jon Wee — collectively known as The Passing Zone — boldly juggle what no jugglers have juggled before.

The Passing Zone
Owen Morse and Jon Wee, collectively known as The Passing Zone

In May, Morse and Wee will bring their trademark mix of sidesplitting comedy and gut-wrenching suspense to Washington University in St. Louis as part of the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7. Tickets are $28; $24 seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; and $18 for students and children. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets.

In conjunction with the performance, Carl Bender, Ph.D., professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, will present a seminar on Juggling and the Mechanics of Instability, which will examine “the underlying principles that account for the strange behavior of objects in motion.” The talk is free and open to the public and takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in Crow Hall, Room 204.

For more information about the performance or the seminar, call (314) 935-6543.

The Passing Zone

Morse and Wee both began juggling as teenagers and were introduced by a mutual friend in 1986, while Wee was attending Luther College in Iowa and Morse was at University of California at Irvine. The duo met again the following year, at the International Jugglers Association (IJA) convention in Akron, and began performing professionally in 1988, making their debut at the IJA Team Championships in Denver.

“Chainsaw Ballet”

Over the years, Owens and Wee have earned a reputation as the world’s funniest, and most ambitious, juggling duo. They’ve collected five Guinness World Records and 18 gold medals from the IJA — more than any other team — and were the first pair to ever pass 11 clubs.

At the same time, their heart-stoppingly hilarious repertoire ranges from “The Chainsaw Ballet,” a graceful marriage of silk tights and power tools; to “People-Juggling,” in which three members of the audience, dressed as astronauts, fly about the stage to the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Passing Zone has been featured at comedy clubs across the nation and on dozens of television programs, including The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee and The Miss America Pageant.

They have performed with Bob Hope, Tony Bennett, Bob Newhart, Penn & Teller and “Weird Al” Yankovic, among many others. Their Royal Command Performance for Prince Charles prompted His Royal Highness to remark, “Very clever, although I’m glad I wasn’t sitting in the front row!”

Calendar Summary

WHO: Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series

WHAT: The Passing Zone

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

TICKETS: $28; $24 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; $18 for students. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets

Edison Theatre

Edison Theatre’s OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis. Focusing on presentations that are interdisciplinary, multicultural and/or experimental, Edison Theatre presents work intended to challenge, educate and inspire.

Edison Theatre programs are supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis.

“People Juggling”