Presented by American Repertory Theatre
Created by Vinny DePonto and Geoff Kanick
Original Music by Alex Harris
Voiceover work by Artist Isuri Wijesundara
Opening Video by Gabe Jacobs
Video Voiceover by Isabela Salgado
Technical Consultancy by Joshua Samuels
Web Design by Eleanor Philips
Zoom Wizardry by Alycia Marucci and Sumner Ellsworth
Scenic/Background Consultancy by Heather Morris
Costume Consultancy by Alma Reyes Burgos
Lighting Consultancy by Joseph Lorenzen
Digital Systems Programming by Justin Paice & Michael Policare
Disclaimer: This review contains minor spoilers.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — The Conjurors’ Club starts long before the Zoom room opens with a brown 8.5 x 11 envelope with a stamp from Jean Eugene’s Fine Watches. This envelope arrives within another envelope from the American Repertory Theatre. Don’t open it! Its contents are a surprise.
Not much of a surprise. Here are some of them.
At a time when it is important to report mysterious packages, please don’t investigate this package too much. It is important that you leave the contents as they arrive at your home. Do not disturb them. Pretend they are sleeping.
Rest assured, you will be asked to open the envelope during the Conjurors’ Club performance. Your performance will include some aspects of audience participation. Geoff Kanick will walk you through each magical step. You will only have to does as much interacting (or critical thinking) as you are comfortable with. By waiting to open the envelope, by granting the conjurors of the Conjurors’ Club control, you are conceding to their magic practice. The performance is more fun if you do.
The A.R.T. website says that you’ll meet three magicians. You’ll meet four. Host Kanick is part of the performance, too; he introduces us to the world of magic over Zoom. He’s our teacher; he tells us the importance of science and psychology in magic.
Kanick also sets our expectations by performing some magic of his own. He performs a card trick–that I won’t describe here because that’s boring–and sets our expectations.
Magic, sleight of hand, illusion, etc. is possible over Zoom. Kanick, who worked directly with an audience member too awkward in front of a Zoom audience to doubt, proved it. He used a pack of cards to reveal our collective thoughts. A pack of cards isn’t special when you or I hold it. It’s special when Kanick and the other Conjurors show us what a pack of cards is capable of.
Shortly after Kanick told us what to expect, my fellow audience members and I briefly waited for the next conjuror in a breakout Zoom room. That is where we met our three magicians: Ran’D Shine, Eric Jones, Jeanette Andrews.
Their performing styles were very different; their energies were as varied as their tricks. Each performer had roughly twenty minutes to ply their craft. No, I am not going to describe their tricks. Again: boring. If you want to know, buy a ticket.
The performance went quickly. It felt like we had barely said hello to Kanick before we were back in his presence to say goodbye. A full hour had passed when we were ushered back into the main Zoom room with for one final illusion with Kanick.
The afternoon will be different for each audience. The A.R.T. website has a list of performers. If you really must know what to expect, you can research each. Or, you can relax. These magicians know more than you do. Don’t try to outwit them. You will lose.
One final thought – do some investigating. There are clues hidden in the package from Jean Eugene’s Fine Watches.
Hold onto the contents after the performance, too. I’m told by a box office pixie that there are surprises for those who patiently wait and watch their inbox.