Many magicians in the audience thought we did a Steinmeyer illusion.
That’s partly correct. Only the well-posted Bob Dureza got it right. It was Jarett’s 21-Person Cabinet from Jim Steinmeyer’s the Complete Jarett.
The illusion was not that difficult to present. But with almost 30 performers and crew involved in the act, the illusion was a nightmare to rehearse.
We spent almost two weeks in Kabaka, Pandacan rehearsing just this act. We couldn’t get it down pat until 10:30 am of D-day (December 9). I considered scrapping the illusion (which was our opening act) if we couldn’t get it right by 11am.
Over those two-week-rehearsal sessions, we couldn’t gather all 30 magicians. There were always three to five performers who would not show up, because they were engaged in shows. Woe to me. I just noticed we were doing the show in December, the busiest time of the year for magicians.
So we were in Star Theater at 8 am on December 9 for the technical dress rehearsal of just this one act. And we couldn’t execute it.
Jarrett’s original dimension of the box is constricting. We made our version more constricting.
The original builder’s plan has a proviso for supplemental gimmicks behind the box and on its ceiling. I figured that Jarrett’s measurements suited American-sized performers. Since least hefty Filipino magicians would perform the illusion, the supplemental gimmicks were superfluous. Or so I thought.
When the illusion came on D-day, it sat in the middle of the stage, small, puny and unassuming. But we could not make it work. And time was ticking by…fast.
The box without the gimmick behind it allowed us a lot of performing leeway. We did the illusion down stage center, away from the backdrop and stage wings. Which was awesome. But tried as we did with all our might, we could not make the illusion work.
So by 10:30 am I made a bleak announcement to the cast. If we couldn’t execute the illusion by 11 am, we would scrap our opening number. We would move on to the technical rehearsal of the other acts and the rest of the show. We would have no opening number.
The theater fell silent. If you know the non-sound of gloom and doom, that was it.
So we ran our last attempt. From the top.
And what do you know? At 10:45 am, we made the illusion work…like magic.
Close to two dozen magicians came out of that small, puny, unassuming box. Each performer was holding an umbrella and dancing around the stage. It was a glorious spectacle to behold! We had an opening act!
Thank you, IMC magicians. You are all magical.
I’m so proud of you, guys!