We are fortunate enough to have several opportunities to talk with people from our audience after the show, and sometimes we hear some interesting explanations for the illusions that we perform. For one particular close up piece in the show people would say that the coins that Kyle used were tricky in some way, or that the mat he was performing on had slits in it, and that the video footage projected on the large screens was prerecorded. Thanks to the feedback that we got from our audience we were able to make that routine even more powerful. Now each of the coins as well as the mat are handed out into the audience to be inspected, and the video camera pans out across the audience to show them that we have a live, uncut video feed. We’ve heard everything from the coins being holographic images to Kyle having “extra folds of skin” that he hides the coins in, but but ultimately I think that our audience appreciates the fact that it’s just pure sleight of hand.
Over the years we’ve learned that magic becomes real to someone when they have the chance to touch it or see it right in front of their eyes, and that’s why the show has become so audience interactive. Even though we are performing to audiences of more than 1000 people, we want to give everyone there the opportunity to experience the magic personally. Before the show starts we invite the entire audience to come onstage and examine and then sign one of our illusions and within minutes dozens of people of have given it a full examination, and it is covered in signatures. At the end of the show we perform our finale illusion with that same trunk, and the fact that they personally examined it makes it even more impossible. The craziest explanation we’ve heard for this illusion is that “we had an elaborate device backstage that scanned each side of the first trunk, and then reprinted each signature on a second different trunk.” I still laugh when I think about that young man describing this contraption from his imagination!
My favorite routine that we do is our updated version of an old fashioned sawing in half. From the very beginning audience members are involved in this effect, and they have an chance to inspect every element of the routine. We then invite audience members to freely come onstage and watch the illusion from behind, performing it completely surrounded. At times we’ve had more than 30 people onstage, and we STILL have people say that all of them “must be in on it”. One gentleman believed that “it was obvious that Mistie had a double” and that “everyone used in the show was a plant.” Well, I hate to burst your bubble Mr. Johnson, but I think you may have seen “The Prestige” one too many times. Not a single person used in our show is an accomplice to the magic, and I do not have a double…although I sometimes wish that I did because it sure would make my job easier.
The thing that I hear every week is that “I must have a twin,” and for one man the proof of that was because “in some routines my makeup was shinier than others.” One slightly intoxicated guy even said that he knew there were “two Mistie’s” because one had a bigger chest than another one. Well guys, the only secret to that illusion is Victoria’s Secret!
We know that our audience is aware that what we are doing isn’t really happening, that’s why it’s called an illusion, but just as if they were watching a movie, we hope that they will allow themselves to suspend their disbelief and imagine what it would be like if nothing were impossible. Even though people will always share their funny explanations, in end it just makes me proud of the job that we’ve done. If “twins” and “plants” are the only explanations that a person has then we must be doing something right!