Escape Artist Performs in Worcester, Mass. With Positive Message

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    Donna Purnell, or Alexandria the Great, recently landed a spot competing on national TV, but she brought her message and act to Girls Inc.

    (NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - A straight jacket, 10 padlocks and 50 feet of metal chain could put anyone in a tight spot, but for Donna Purnell, it's the perfect recipe for a great escape.

    “I pay homage to Houdini but I don't copy him; anyone who knew Houdini knows he didn't like to be copied.”

    Purnell performs as escape artist “Alexandria the Great.” Her talent recently landed her a slot competing on national tv.

    Friday, she showed off her skills at Girls Inc. in Worcester. Some in the audience helped secure her straight jacket and lock her in.

    “I’m thinking the whole time they're wrapping her with the chains how is she going to get out?,” says Chayanne Chataigne.

    This escape looks tricky enough, so it’s hard to imagine she usually performs it under water.

    Alexandria the Great also uses her escape as a metaphor, teaching people that it's possible to get out of difficult situations, even when you feel trapped. As for the actual escape, I can only hope it’s as easy as she makes it look.

    “You have the keys you carry them with you and if you use your head and heart whatever your situation is, you'll be able to get out,” she says.

    Purnell had her audience on the edge of their seats, but the young crowd says they also relate to the lesson she's trying to teach them.

    “The great escape, it's something that's stopping you from moving on in your life and keeps you in a bad place,” Chataigne says.

    “The more people we can bring in that share our message the better off these girls will be and more good choices we'll make,” says Kathy Odgren with Girls Inc.

    Purnell says what makes her character, Alexandria, so great is the power of positive thinking, and it certainly helped this reporter.