Illusionist Darcy Oake to attempt great escape on New Year's Day

Illusionist Darcy Oake prepares for his great escape
Illusionist Darcy Oake prepares for his great escape

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Illusionist Darcy Oake prepares for his great escape 02:01

Story highlights

  • Darcy Oake to attempt escape from water cube on New Year's Day
  • 28-year-old illusionist will perform challenge at London parade Friday

London (CNN)On New Year's Day, most people are kick-starting resolutions or nursing sore heads from late night festivities.

Not Darcy Oake. The 28-year-old Canadian illusionist is planning a great escape.
    "If it goes well it will be really cool, but if it goes wrong it will be a legendary failure," he says, possibly understating what sounds and looks like a death-defying stunt.
    The Houdini-style challenge will see Oake suspended 20 feet in the air, both arms shackled to a wood and steel frame, with his head locked inside a bulletproof glass cube full of water.
    He will have little more than two minutes to unpick three locks before he runs out of air.
    There are no tricks, no illusions. It is a test purely of endurance.
    "I have been training for the past year and a half to hold my breath for extended periods of time," Oake explains. "I can do it on the ground no problems, without exerting any energy, for I would say roughly three minutes, but when you get into this situation where you are actively trying to pick locks, the whole game changes."
    Oake will face the added distraction of performing the stunt in front of thousands of people during London's annual New Year's Day Parade. He's also never attempted it outside, where large crowds and the weather are all unknown influences.
    "It's going to be a challenge for me just to block everything out," he says. "The biggest thing with this for me to remember is just not panicking, because the second you start panicking you're not thinking straight and that's when the whole thing can go south."
    And it has gone south before. On two previous attempts, Oake has had to be rescued by his crew. During one rehearsal he dropped the pin. In another, he struggled to unpick the first lock and panicked.
    While Oake can be rescued within 10 seconds on the ground, he won't have that luxury when he debuts the stunt from 20 feet in the air on New Year's Day.
    "If something is to go wrong and there is a panic mode or some sort of catastrophe, nobody is going to be able to get to the apparatus to help me," he says, without a hint of dread.
    But for Oake, there is no downside here.
    "If I get out, that is a one-of-a-kind escape. That's pretty epic as far as I'm concerned. If it goes horribly wrong, that's also pretty epic."