Kevin Spencer answers 7
For the Spencers, magic is no longer merely about baffling the audience by doing something seemingly impossible. Magic these days is about drama, spectacle, interaction, danger and personality -exactly what separate the Spencers from every other magical performer in the field. The husband-wife team of Kevin and Cindy Spencer can penetrate walls and levitate with the best of them, but they do it with world-class charisma and style, packing one of the biggest, most state-of-the-art illusion rigs in the business. Kevin recently took time to answer some questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: What do you enjoy most about performing live?
Kevin Spencer: I most enjoy involving people from the audience on the stage where they can experience the magic up close and personal. This creates an unscripted spontaneity that keeps the show alive and fresh.
VD: What was the first magic effect you can remember learning/performing?
KS: I got my first magic set was I was 8 years old. One of my favorite tricks as a child was the “Disappearing/Re-appearing Quarter” effect. I would borrow a quarter and have someone mark it in a way they would recognize it again. Then I would make it disappear. I would hand the volunteer a small box and inside would be another box and inside of that box would be a small bag … inside the bag would be the marked quarter.
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VD: What is one of your most memorable experiences as a performer?
KS: One of our major performance highlights was an invitation to kick off the National Hockey League’s All Star Block Party in Fort Lauderdale, where we made the Stanley Cup disappear … and reappear the following day with Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Robinson. Another highlight came last summer. I had the chance to teach magic to children in Africa and perform in a small, isolated village in the Amazon rain forest of Peru.
VD: If you could meet any illusionist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
KS: I’m a huge fan of an early 20th-century illusionist named Charles Carter – Carter the Great. He was more than a magician. He was a “theatrical performer” who knew the power of combining the art of illusion with theater. He was a major headlining act in that first golden age of theatrical magic with an international reputation. And yet, no one today really knows anything about him. My mentor was a magician named Doug Henning. He had this theory that “magic + theater = art.” Sitting down with the two of them would have been an interesting conversation about the artistic merits of magic.
VD: What do you hope audiences take away from your
KS: There are so few entertainment options in today’s society that the entire family can enjoy together. As an illusionist, I want to take my audience on a journey to the brink of impossibility where anything can happen. I want them to experience wonder and amazement – to have fun and recognize magic as a performing art. Most audiences don’t think of “magic” as an art because they’ve rarely seen it performed artistically. I hope audiences walk away from our show having experienced an evening of magic and illusion they will remember for the rest of their lives.
VD: What is the most talked about effect of the show?
KS: There are several illusions that I hear people talk about after the show when I have the chance to meet them in the lobby. I walk through a solid concrete wall, take on the spinning blades of a giant industrial fan, invite the entire audience to participate in an interactive mind-control experiment and bring to the stage some mind-boggling illusions from China, Germany and Australia. When I ask audience members what their favorite trick is, most people say, “They were all my favorites.” And that’s my favorite answer!
VD: Is there anything else that you would like audiences to know about your performance?
KS: People who are thinking about coming to the show should know that we present a contemporary, sophisticated production for the adults in the audience while keeping it extremely family friendly for their children. Everyone of every age will be entertained and engaged in what is happening on stage. But they should also know this is not your traditional “magic show.” This is a theatrical presentation of some of the greatest illusions in the world combined with all the wonderful elements of a Broadway production – lighting, music, movement and storytelling – to create a magical concert for your eyes. This is theater in the truest sense of the word!