The Magic Play
Some people have a normal love of magic. I have an unusual love of magic. That’s like… 12 notches higher than normal love.
Every time I get a new bullet journal, I transfer my list of things I love and the top two items are
- Magic (real)
- Magic (illusions)
I’m just setting the scene so you can understand why I almost passed out when I got to go up on stage during a tech rehearsal for The Magic Play.
What is The Magic Play? The way I described it after seeing it is that it’s the turducken of theater. It’s a magic show inside a play inside a much larger question: how do we trust one another?
(Side note: I am really trying to get someone to fall in love with calling this the “turducken of theater.” So far, every time I’ve said it, people have stared at me blankly and then treated the moment as if I blurted out that I love streaking.)
It’s a new play having a rolling world premiere, and DC was picked as one of the cities (specifically the Olney Theatre). The magician in the show is also an actor, and as he performs the various tricks, he’s telling the story of how he broke up with his boyfriend. So you’re seeing real magic tricks (and they’re amazing — more on that in a second) while hearing a story and then considering this larger philosophical question. There are three actors in the play — the magician, his ex-boyfriend, and the magician’s father.
After we saw the show, I learned that Jim Steinmeyer consulted on it. THE Jim Steinmeyer, the guy who created David Copperfield’s disappearing Statue of Liberty trick. The guy who adds magic to Disney shows. Magical historian and magical inventor extraordinaire. If you have an unusual love of magic, you know Steinmeyer.
Anyway, the magician pulls members of the audience up on the stage a few times, and I got chosen for the first trick in the play. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone in case you get a chance to see the play, but it is such an emotional moment in the show — a mind-blowing trick coupled with a story about how the magician’s ex-boyfriend left him — that I started getting teary. And I forgot there was anyone else in the theater in that moment because I was holding onto a pack of cards (oh! And he let me keep the cards at the end of the trick so they have entered prize possession land) and staring into the magician’s eyes. Chills, people.
Brett Schneider is incredible. Jon Hudson Odom dives from a 9-foot diving board on the stage. I spent the whole night gasping.
It has been to Chicago and it’s in DC for the next few weeks, and I have no clue where it is going next. But if you get a chance to see it, run, don’t walk to the theater. Beyond seeing Josh’s plays, which are the best written plays I’ve ever seen (and I’m not just saying that because I once inspired a line in one of his plays), this was my second most emotional, favourite theater moment.
I love real magic. I love illusionary magic. I love The Magic Play. That is a lot of love.
Images by Stan Barouh (used with permission)