The other night I took my boyfriend to see You Will Be Thrilled at the Kraine Theater. I was super pumped because this wasn't your typical play, but a magic show, and with a title like You Will Be Thrilled, I was prepared to be amazed. I had always been very interested in magic from a young age. It started when my older brother Damien began putting on magic shows in Central Park when we were kids. I would always beg to tag along and eventually he agreed to let me be his assistant. And so, traveling from our apartment to Central Park by Razor Scooter (Only the coolest modes of transportation for the Lolos family), we would set up his Fantasma Magic kit on the ground of various playgrounds, easily drawing a crowd of children and their grateful parents, all waiting to be entertained. When I got a little older, I became consumed with Harry Potter, and at that point there was no stopping me: I was magic obsessed. So for someone who had never seen a live magic show more advanced than what you'd see at...say the average 5 year old's birthday party, You Will Be Thrilled was right up my alley as far as shows go. We left for the theatre with over a half hour to spare, and yet still managed to have about 6 mini heart attacks on our way there. Just about everything that could go wrong did, and by the time we did make it to the theatre, my fingernails were bloody with worry. First we got on the wrong train and then when we finally located the train we did need, we ended up waiting for 15 minutes, which wouldn't have be so much of a big deal normally, except the show started at 7:30pm and the train didn't arrive until 7:20pm. Close call. Much too close for somebody like me who on principle gets places at least 30 minutes early.
The second we got above ground we settled into a brisk walk/run all the way to 4th St. This is when the trouble started. Where was the theatre? We scanned the buildings around us. We saw a theatre, two in fact, but one was La MaMa and the other was the New York Theatre Workshop. The Kraine Theater was nowhere in sight. We raced back and forth down the block, every once in a while stopping someone to ask for directions. Nada. So finally in a state of sheer desperation, I headed into a building that looked like a bar with the intention of asking someone inside if they knew where the theatre was, and I barely got the door open before BOOM, I saw it-A sign labeled "Kraine Theater." Thank God. So as it turns out, we weren't crazy. The Kraine Theater is indeed located on the ground floor of the KGB Bar.
We immediately snatched front row seats upon entering the theatre. I was all set to volunteer the moment the opportunity presented itself because the best part about a magic show(or most shows, in my mind) is the crowd interaction;I wanted to have close access to the stage.
The lights dimmed, and a man's voice came over the speakers. He opened by saying that most of us in the audience were probably born before 1985 (um...awkward...) and therefore part of something he called Generation X. Everybody born after that year (me!) was dubbed a Millennial. The man's voice spoke about how those who were a part of Generation X lived a simpler life where people had to ride bikes to get around and call each other on the phone if they wanted to speak to one another. Then a little boy holding flowers walked onto the stage. He waved the flowers and they turned into a wand. Right when I started wondering if the kid was the headliner of the show, he was wrapped up in a sheet and when the sheet was unwrapped, a fully grown man emerged, and the child was nowhere to be seen.
The man said that the flux capacitor appeared to be working because he had gone forward in time from the year 1989. Then he launched into a speech about how us as people as so focused on celebrities and he said that he needed someone from the audience who knew a lot about celebrities to help him out. My hand shot up. I didn't spend the better part of my life reading gossip magazines from cover to cover for nothing. The amount of useless knowledge I possess on famous people is embarrassing but here I was, being offered a chance to put it all to the test. I was invited up on the stage and the man handed me a sealed envelope and placed it on a chair. Then he told me to sit on top of the envelope on the chair while he shuffled a deck of cards. But these weren't regular playing cards. They were cards with the first names of celebrities printed on them. My job was to call out the last name of the celebrity whose card he held up. When he held up the "Miley" card, we all shouted "Cyrus," the Elton card, we all shouted "John." We continued this process for a bit until the man told me to select a face down celebrity card at random. I did, and promptly peaked at the card and showed it to the audience. "Leo," it said, so therefore "Leo DiCaprio," because what other Leo is there? The man then told me to stand up and when he opened the envelope there was a picture of...a baby? The man said it was a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio as a baby and we all kind of chuckled...but when he flipped over the picture it was a picture of an adult Leo! Now that was cool. But not quite as cool as simply being up on stage itself. There was just something about being up there, an energy, and from where I was the lights were so bright on the stage that I couldn't make out any faces in the audience, leaving me no room for nerves. It was nice to be able to experience the theatre from a performer's perspective.
I returned to my seat and the man did some pretty impressive mental magic. I still for the life of me haven't a clue how he did it. He called on a random woman from the audience and in a matter of a few minutes deduced that she was an accountant and he even predicted her birthday based on the answers she gave to a few extremely broad questions.
He then took out a blue drawstring bag that contained four white balls and one black ball. Five audience members each selected a ball at random, glanced at it and then kept it tightly gripped in their fists. These people were called up onto the stage and instructed to tell a white lie if they had a white ball and to tell the truth if they had the black ball. They were each asked their mother's maiden name and from their facial expressions and overall demeanor when replying to the questions, the man figured out who had the black ball in no time at all.
A mother and daughter were sat on the stage and asked to hold out their arms and keep their eyes tightly shut. The man stepped over to the daughter and tapped her 3 times on her arm and then he went over to the mother and he tapped the air around her arm, never actually touching her. When the man asked the women what they felt, both women said that they felt 3 touches on their arms!
All of a sudden I was whisked onto the stage again and this time my boyfriend joined me. It was a no brainer, us being one of the only willing couples in the audience. After the man asked us some uncomfortable questions about our relationship like how we met and how long we'd been together, he determined that our bond was strong enough to perform some truly incredible magic. He taught us these various motions that really resembled the T'ai Chi that we've all seen performed in New York City parks. You know what I mean...
We started doing the movements in unison, all the while focusing our attention on a wine glass, which on the count of three spontaneously shattered. As my fellow Greek's would say, Opa! It was interesting to be a part of the finale of a show, and a magic show no less! Leaving a show being able to say that my participation affected the entire outcome of the show in a noticeable way just makes it all the more enjoyable.