Peter Brynolf and Jonas Ljung, the creators of Stalker—which they performed in their native Sweden between 2021 and 2022—stumped Penn and Teller on their TV show, Penn & Teller: Fool Us!, which led the Swedish duo to open for Penn and Teller in Las Vegas in 2011. Two years earlier, Brynolf and Ljung won the silver medal in comedy magic at the World Championships of Magic in Beijing.
“Brynolf and Ljung had us at ‘hallå’ with their mind-bending magic on our TV show,” Penn and Teller said in a statement. “Now, we’re joining forces with them to unleash Stalker in New York City. We’re truly excited to join the producing team of this spellbinding spectacle.”
“We love these guys!” Penn and Teller added. “We believe if we were younger, better looking, and lived in Sweden, this would be us.”
While Penn and Teller have directed other projects and been creative consultants—and “presented” their own shows—this is the first time they are producing a work that is not their own.
Stalker will open April 1 off-Broadway at New World Stages; previews begin March 18. Of the 90-minute show, Brynolf and Ljung’s website states: “How far will we go to be seen in today’s surveillance society, where everyone is both stalker and stalked?” The show, they say, “offers a riveting journey into self-awareness.”
“Don’t be surprised if you come out of the show with a new relationship on your hands,” Ljung told The Daily Beast. “Some lucky audience members will even read each other’s minds. For real. Mobile phones melt away in the air and appear in a very unexpected place. It all leads up to the big finale you didn’t see coming.”
The presence of four cameras, Ljung told The Daily Beast, means there is “more the feeling of being part of a live TV recording than a classic magic show.”
The show, a spokesperson said, “features a lot of close-up sleight of hand and illusion work, both by the magicians themselves and with audience members.”
Publicity materials for the show proclaim: “Get ready for fast-paced entertainment combining street magic and physical mentalism… Brynolf and Ljung’s magic creates audience pandemonium. Their work is original, organic, and often prop-less, using borrowed objects and audience suggestions for their illusions.” “Follow Brynolf and Ljung. They’re already following you,” the show advises.
Stalker is directed by Edward Af Sillén, a well-known Swedish theater director and Eurovision Song Contest commentator who will be scriptwriting and directing the 2024 contest to be held in Malmö.