X14: The Razor's Edge

At Rhythm X we take great pride in the productions we bring to the WGI World Championships each year. This year is certainly no different. Our 2014 production The Razor's Edge is based on the 2008 documentary Man on Wire chronicling the daring hire-wire crossing of the Twin Towers by French tightrope artist Philippe Petit.

The Razor's Edge certainly has a lot of metallic imagery and sharp edges but the show is much more than this. Each year, Rhythm X strives to push the limits of our art and The Razor's Edge is an embodiment of that risk. Taking our art, our activity, to its boundaries and performing on the edge of possibility. In our show you'll hear parts of a quote that has been 'cut' apart and presented in small slices of Petit's voice.

Here's the quote in its entirety:

Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge - and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.

                                                                                             -Philippe Petit, Man on Wire

Music for the show is drawn from three sources: Brahms' "Capriccio in F-sharp Minor" from his Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76, Gymnopédie No.1  by Erik Satie, and Je Te Veux also by Erik Satie.

Tightrope artists have been known to say that they feel two feelings at the same time when on the Wire, a terrifying fear of staring death in the face, and at the same time, a liberating freedom of absolute empowerment.  To interpret this, We have chosen to juxtapose some of these light, carefree musical themes with a dissonant, edgy soundscape to give the audience and performers this same feeling.


Center Snare Frankie Cummings walks the percussion rack balance beam at the WGI Mid-South Championships.

Center Snare Frankie Cummings walks the percussion rack balance beam at the WGI Mid-South Championships.

In Man on Wire Philippe Petit walks the void between the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He and a team race to the top of the buildings in secret and - under cover of darkness - stretch an impossibly large high-tension wire and supports between the buildings. 

Then Petit, without any safety measures and with only a a balancing pole walks the wire. 

In our show every performer is faced with an edge - a chasm to cross - but two performers dare to scale the 42 foot beam stretched across the auxiliary percussion section. Just as in Man on Wire, we hear the haunting strains of Erik Satie's Gymnopédie No.1 as we see cast member Frankie Cummings walk the beam and then balance precariously in a seated position on one foot. Then, during the final moments of The Razor's Edge, auxiliary percussionist Jeremy Beard walks above the entire ensemble and ends balancing perilously inverted over the chasm in the floor. 

We hope that you enjoy The Razor's Edge as much as we do. 


It's so simple, that life should be lived on the edge of life.

-  Philippe Petit