Eugene’s Legacy by Lawrence Hass, Ph.D., Associate Dean

As I write this, the sunny heat of August has become the cool air and vibrant colors of late September. It is a refreshing time—the threshold of my favorite season. And this year early autumn brings something extra to my spirit: profound appreciation for our recently departed friend, Eugene Burger. For me, the shock of his death (in early August) has passed. The deep pain of personal loss is...

Magic as Reassurance

A magician begins “doing incredible things with big silver hoops” for no less a purpose that to REASSURE a spectator.  (This we learn in an intriguing illustration in The Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 12, 1904.)  We don’t typically associate reassurance — the restoration of confidence — to tricksters; we all know that a “confidence man” is ironically named. Even so:...

Scriptwriting for Magicians

One of the questions that I get asked the most at our classes is “Is it better to script or just to talk naturally?” When I hear this question, I usually regard this as someone who is asking me to give them permission to be lazy. An argument I hear frequently, is “Well, I don’t want to sound like I’m reciting words from a script.” The answer to this argument is that we are actors playing the...

Turn Up the Light

Magic is the shadow cast by the fire of the soul. — Michael Fraughton Dear student of the art, There are some who say that magic is a dance between shadow and light. There must be darkness to create mystery, true, but there must also be light in order to perceive it. One of the practical problems of darkness and light is encountered onstage. A PRACTICAL PROBLEM I often get asked by young...

Selecting Magic to Perform

A few years ago, purely as a personal experiment, I asked myself the following question: In order for a particular piece of magic to make it into my performing repertoire are there any criteria that must be met? What features must this particular piece of magic have – or not have – for it to be something that I would like to perform? As I thought about it, several criteria did appear. I have...

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