MAC magic schooling with Carnival of Illusion
Mesa Performing Arts Examiner
October 19, 2014
The always evolving Carnival of Illusion has again extended its magical reach, in both performance depth and audience exposure. Magician duo Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed yesterday talked to Examiner just before taking the stage to present their mind-bendingMesa Arts Center (MAC) debut show.
The charming charm couple have been makingmagic together for more than a decade, are in their sixth season of Carnival of Illusion shows, and got married along the way. Together with their omnipresent canine, Harriette Houdini, the two continually deepen connections and sharpen skills, honing a multitude of education roles like student, teacher and mentor.
Show and Tell
Last night's sleights, dubbed 'Around the World in 80 Minutes' were so much more than trickery at the hand of handsomely nineteenth-century-costumed conjurers. When asked to describe the production, Eyed noted that it's "an intimate parlour show," while Sarlot characterized it as an "artistic presentation of respected, Old World type magic."
If that's the case, Old World illusion deftly baffled New World thinkers at the MAC yesterday evening. How in the world does a man memorize in the blink of an eye the placement of all 52 cards in a single deck? Isn't it impossible to learn by rote entire novels or textbooks--hundreds of pages--with such specificity that an audience member calling out a particular page elicits a direct quote of said page from the magician?
"We have some new, skill-based tricks.... memory, brainiac kind of stuff," offered Sarlot about the mesmerizing act that will continue at Mesa Arts Center through May.
"They reflect his personality," added Eyed. Some of the new material, she shared, "is fun because it spans the entire show and doesn't get fully revealed until the end."
Global Study Hall
Sarlot and Eyed are devoted to the study of people and illusion. Within the last eight months they've traversed the planet, from the Czech Republic to Spain to Austria, adding pizzazz to their bulging bag of tricks.
They delved this year further into the pinnacle of the Golden Age of Magic, investigating bygone haunts and eras. They explored Robert-Houdin's (often referred to as the father of modern magic and the man from whom Harry Houdini derived his stage name) card manipulations and other magic that had capitalized on the machanization of the Industrial Era... applied the technology of watchmaking to illusion.
In Vienna, they shuffled through Johann Hofzinser histories, a man known as the father of card magic. In Barcelona, they brushed up on artist Salvador Dali, master painter of optical illusions. Then back home in Arizona, here in Mesa, they internalize it, recreate it, and finally disseminate the knowledge.
The Classroom Nontraditional
Out of thin air they appear, inspiring young readers with favorite library picks about magic, and materializing in the advanced robotics class at a Mesa elementary school. Roland and Susan don't just show up at schools, they visit astronomer meetings and business conventions, disperse cultural and historical details, all in the name of passionate education.
"We've sort of become the experts in the field when someone is looking for a presentation," Sarlot suggested as he thought about how the couple spreads inspiration.
Eyed added, "Our work is about problem solving and team work, creative thinking and experimentation.
"And people see and learn our passion," concluded Sarlot.