Some sleight of hand, stage illusions, baffling escapes and, presto!, you have all the ingredients for a magical and mystifying evening.
Grade 11 drama students at Elmira District Secondary School are wrapping up their unit on magic with a show for family, friends and the community on Jan. 20. It’s the first time the class has staged a magic show.
“It’s a chance for them to present and entertain,” said drama teacher DJ Carroll.
Carroll and a few magician friends will be joining the students on stage as they perform big stage illusions, card tricks, juggling and comedy sketches.
Ethan Bleskie, a fifth-year student who is doing a co-op term in Carroll’s classroom, is one of the performers. He’ll be doing tricks with canes and silk handkerchiefs, but his favourite part is escape magic – Houdini-style escapes from handcuffs or knotted ropes.
The best part of performing magic tricks and illusions is fooling people, he said, and watching jaws in the audience drop.
The students have spent hours perfecting their tricks and routines; by the time the curtain rises, they will have been working on magic for two months.
“You really have to practice a lot to make sure nothing can go wrong, especially with escape magic,” Bleskie said.
Doing a trick wrong or too slowly can make it fall flat, give the illusion away, and leave the magician in an embarrassing situation. Earlier this week, Bleskie wound up stuck to a chair after the students who tied him up ran the rope through his beltloops. Come show night, he’ll be wearing sweatpants for that particular routine.
Bleskie plans to study sound production at college next year, with an eye to doing sound for theatre productions in the future. Although he doesn’t plan to make a career of it, magic is something he’ll continue to do on the side.
“It’s extremely fun and it’s a good thing to show off to your friends.”
Doors open at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20, with the show starting at 7:30. Tickets are $5 per person or $10 per family.