This is a bit late, but something that’s been quite deserved.
John “Cash” Carpenter and Darwin Gilmore presented 3 limited performances from August 7 to August 9, 2008 of both a magic show and a theater performance, dubbed the Magical Realm of Edon. Stephen Blaschke was director and choreographer. In a nutshell, this performance had to be one of the most visually stunning and exciting presentations of illusions I’ve seen in quite a long time.
This was no mere stage performance of illusions. It took the audience into the world of Edon, a Celtic world full of mystery, excitement, and enchantment. The world was controlled by the Goddess, Eternity (played by my wife, Melissa Weldon). Upon entering, she brought the world to life, which consisted of the Elements Earth (played by Shane Manning), Water (played by Emily Crawford), Fire (played by Aaron Phillips), and Air (played by Lupe Gallardo). After awakening Edon (played by Tiffany Jones), the Goddess introduces the two magicians, Dei’ (played by John Carpenter) and Ni’t (played by Darwin Gilmore). The show was a constant battle between Dei’ and Ni’t to fight for the love of Edon. Early on, the love of Ni’t was won over, and the jealousy of Dei’ sends the two magicians into a bitter fight from one Illusion to the next, until Edon is killed (or dies?) in the process.
Every character on stage plays an important part to furthering the story. Eternity seems to be in control of the Elements, and uses them at her bidding to restrain the magicians, bring out props used in the illusions, amongst other things. She also is the one “singing” to a great selection of music to help set the mood from scene to scene. The particular choices of music not only set the mood, but also helped further the feeling that the audience (and cast) was in a celtic world.
However, despite Eternity’s overwhelming power over the world of Edon, the magician’s certainly do have a certain level of power and control over the Elements to use them at their bidding as well. The elements, in turn, have power over Edon, the one life in this world. When looking at the subtler meanings of this performance, I believe Cash, Darwin, and Stephen put a lot of thought into what happens in the real world - the elements are controlled by certain elements of Night (think of tides with the moon) and Day (re: the sun). Furthermore, the essential elements of Earth do have control over the lifeforms on it, so when they take control of Edon, the circle completes itself, adding to an interesting depth of this performance.
The illusions, in order of appearance, were:
- Milk Can Escape
- Disembodied Princess
- Floating Cane
- Double Straight Jacket Escape
- Underwater Torture Escape
- Snowstorm in China
- The Glass Coffin
As remarked in other reviews, one of the elements that enabled these illusions to be pulled completely off (with the use of quite sheer silks to hide the illusions) was the lighting effects. Darwin and the team that Cash puts together for his performances are quite skilled in the use of lighting to pull off everything from setting mood to helping to hide aspects not meant to be seen. One of the more impressive uses of the lighting was on the backdrop to give it depth (serious depth, not just an interesting lighting effect), which made it a part of the greater illusion.
Of all of the illusions performed, my favorites were Milk Can Escape, Disembodied Princess, Double Straight Jacket Escape & Underwater Torture Escape. One of the illusions that was well performed for an illusion, but was particularly touching, was the Floating Cane. Dei’ had finally won the heart of Edon back after having locking N’it away in the Milk Can, and Ni’t was unable to awaken her from her slumber. However, by performing the illusion he was able to both win her heart back and awaken her from her slumber. (I know, I’m a mush for touchy scenes).
Overall, all actors and actresses should be commended on an job extremely well done. The crew as well should be commended on the fact that it wouldn’t have been possible without them. Given the fact that this performance was put together in only 3 weeks time (one week break immediately following Jeckyl and Hyde), I was extremely impressed by what was put together. Certainly the set was not nearly as elaborate as Jeckyl & Hyde’s, but it was still a visually stunning, exciting, and enjoyable performance from all aspects.
On a side note for Darwin, work on that Straight Jacket Escape a little more. ;-)