Meet the Magician

by on January 19, 2018

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Meet the Magician

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by Hannah Rae Montgomery

Before rehearsals for the Louisville production of The Magic Play began, actor and magician Brett Schneider sat down with Resident Dramaturg Hannah Rae Montgomery to chat about what it’s like to perform impressive sleight-of-hand magic while also playing a character. For Schneider, wearing both hats is an exciting challenge:

“In magic, you’re always attempting to control your situation without appearing to. You’re trying to make it look like every aspect of a trick is unfolding based on the audience’s choices or responses, when actually you’re orchestrating a specific chain of events that will result in your trick achieving its desired effect. Magic takes an immense amount of control—under the guise of no control whatsoever.

On the other hand, when you’re performing as an actor, you’re trying to relinquish control all the time. You want to be available and open to the present moment, to not know where the scene is going and not anticipate what your scene partner will do next. That surrender of control makes the performance spontaneous and alive.

So doing both at once is difficult. To pull off the complicated sleight-of-hand pieces in the show, I have to be thinking very technically, meaning I can’t always fully let go of what’s coming next. But at the same time, I have these emotional scenes that I’m playing, and in that context I have to be able to give myself over to the life of the moment.

What I’ve learned is that a magic trick is just like a scene. Magic is theatre, and vice versa. Both are concerned with perception and reality and how you can create illusion and convince an audience of the impossible.”

Actors Theater of Louisville
316 West Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Box Office: 502.584.1205
502.371.0956 TDD

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