Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Hinderaker worked with magician Brett Schneider, who plays the central role, and director Halena Kays to create a performance that straddles the line between truth and illusion and, with the help of audience volunteers, is never the same show twice. The denouement depends completely on input from the audience.
The Magician (Schneider) starts the performance by pointing out that, while he may be fooling his audience, the audience members are also fooling themselves by pretending they are not sitting in a darkened room with other people. "We must see ourselves and allow ourselves to be seen," he says, but that's also the crux of his personal drama.
As the Magician manipulates cards at a tableprojected on a screen overheadthe audience also sees what's going on in his mind: behind the screen, images of a man (Jon Hudson Odom) on a high diving board, preparing to dive and then diving (flying effects by D2 Flying Effects). This is Daniel, the Magician's lover, who met him when he volunteered during a magic performance but now wants more spontaneity in the relationship than he feels he's getting. The Magician needs to be as in control of his life as he is with onstage, but as the Diver says, "You have to leap off the board and trust there's water underneath."
Less effective is the Magician's attempt to reconnect with his father (Harry A. Winter), a capable magician but not an artist like his son, who left his family and entertains at seedy casinos and birthday parties. The interaction is minimal and much less satisfying than the ongoing tension between Daniel and the Magician.
Olney Theatre Center