The Mask & Mirror Act

We talked about the mirror sequence. You mentioned that the underlying meaning behind the mirror sequence is that you’re trapped in your own creation, and the removing of masks you have created. Is there a deep underlying overall meaning of your entire act, or was that it?

My full-evening show is an initiation through the elements of magic: air, fire, water, earth and spirit; and it has to deal with the alchemy of the human condition ,the marriage of Heaven and Hell, the union of opposites. These are things that are very difficult for me to express in words, so I use a symbolic form of ritual theatre to convey those things. My show is very much like a pageant of representational symbols. I’ve been incorporating that into my verbal close-up work as well. The more I explore different facets of myself – the more I can bring back to my audiences.

So, to answer your question, the mask and the mirror performance piece that I do takes on new meaning to me about every three years. I change the music to bring a new feel to the act.

Each mask is a different layer. You pull away until you have the skull … and the last mask you have on is the gold mask. what exactly is the symbolism of the gold mask?

It’s different for everyone and for every phase that the routine has been through. If you asked me five years ago I would have given you a different interpretation of what that image is for me.

I think we live in a very high-tech, media-saturated society. In order to really experience the self, it is necessary to break free from that. I think that we are very programmable by media and most of the information we receive is mediated. We get it through print or television or radio and it’s only when we disassociate ourselves from that hyper-technological creation that we can really journey into ourselves. So, I think in an age where we have a danger of going off into hyper-space, we have to go deeper into ourselves to remain balanced. That means returning to certain Gaian values: respect for the earth, examining our own personal resources and our own conservation.

That’s what that image means to me these days. And that’s what magic is about. Magic is about breaking free from limitations. Creating an alternative reality and going in to that alternative reality; whether it be yourself or exploring a mythology or reenacting a ritual.

Magic breaks free of that. That’s what the fascination of magic is. We can break free of certain social constructs that have been programmed into our lives and experience the other – the unknown.

In a stage presentation like yours, you’re reaching out to a large amount of people. Besides incorporating storytelling, how do you add a sense of meaning in a more intimate setting like in your close-up work?

At the end of a meal where someone has been serving me all evening (as in a restaurant), I will give the gift of my tip and present it through magic. It’s more than just me leaving a tip on the table, I will produce the money in a special way, make something out of the money or produce something from the money in a way of giving back with magic.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with different ways to exchange money in every day situations, and snapping people out of the consumer trance — tearing the money and then restoring it as I give it to them. I also like doing the Bobo thing where you borrow the quarter then multiply it very quickly from one-two-three-four-five, then hand it back to make change. It snaps people out of commerce mentality…”Bang!” Magic can happen at any moment, even during the most mundane exchange.

Based on that answer, is your close-up just singular presentations as a way of giving back, or are there times when you present an act?

I would say that most of my close-up presentations that are seen as an “act” are in my lecture for magicians. They’re interspersed with questions and answers. I don’t do a formal close-up show.

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