credit Edward Medina
by Edward Medina
believe that “the oldest profession” is an idiom that conjures up mental images
of brothels and clandestine encounters. Others believe that the expression goes
back further in time. It harkens back to the time when we as hominids gathered
around the fire and told stories of the hunt. It takes us back to the time when
we painted our first art on cave walls so that we could convey our stories.
Some would say that it was in that time that real theatre was first born. There's
vivid art on display on the walls at the Daryl Roth theatre, and magical
storytelling occurring on its stage, and both are being beautifully manipulated
by a writer, performance artist, and master magician all in the form of Derek
you enter his performance space you encounter your first wall. It's a wall filled
with row, after row, after row of small white cards that all have the words I
Am emblazoned at the top. Below that they each have a different descriptive
word or phrase. Doctor. Mom. Cougar. Imagineer. Best friend. A big deal. The
one that got away. The choices seem almost endless. The magician wants you to
pick a card. Do so. There's revelation in your choice. It's about who you think
you are. It's about who you're meant to be for the next seventy-five
intermission less moments.
then enter the theatre itself, going deeper into the magician’s chamber of
secrets. As you take your seat you encounter the other wall. On stage is an
imposing solid grey bricked wall with six window boxes of various sizes set
into it. Each of these smaller individual chambers contains an item, a thing, a
device that will each serve to tell a story that contributes to the whole.
Revealing what they are wouldn't be fair. That would be giving away some of the
magic. In fact, telling you much more wouldn't be fair to both you or to the
magician. Telling you wouldn't give away how the illusions are achieved but it
would reveal the secrets of the story and story is everything here.
photo credit Matthew Murphy
can be said is that through the course of the evening magician Delgaudio will
load each of those six chambers with a story and an illusion. Every time he
does so, he pulls a trigger and fires a shot right through himself and the
audience. That's not hyperbole. It's the truth. It's in the telling of the tale.
Delgaudio, producers Neil Patrick Harris and Glenn Kaino, and director Frank Oz
have masterfully designed, crafted, and presented a supremely beautiful mix of
life lessons learned, and illusionist skills mastered, all of which merge into
a series of perfect entertainment moments.
he stands alone on-stage this magician still has his assistants. An artistic
collective known as A. Bandit designed a set and performance space that is
deceptively simple and cunning all on its own. On stage, there is only a wall,
a ladder, a table, and a chair but this production design begins the moment you
walk in the front door. The same can be said of lighting designer Adam
Blumenthal’s work. The wall of white cards is lit in a bright white wash that
gives them a surreal and inviting glow that draws you towards them. His
illuminations during the show itself helps to illustrate each magical move Delgaudio
makes. Mark Mothersbaugh, founding member and front man of the indie-pop band
Devo, sets the mood with a mesmerizing original score and sound designer Kevin
Heard accentuates the tone of the production and helps to make inanimate
objects spring to life. Individually they all shine but collectively they form
a foundation that creates an environment in which Delgaudio can further
manipulate the senses.
are the great magicians that everyone remembers because they have name
recognition. Thurston. Blackstone. Houdini. Henning. Copperfield. For those in
the know, Derek Delgaudio could be closely compared to a mix of the elegant
stage style of Channing Pollack, the profound close-up skill sets of Rene
Lavand, and the storytelling genius of the recently lost Eugene Berger.
Comparisons are made here for reference but Delgaudio is a master magician all
to himself. His presentation and style is for a new generation and stands
entirely on its own. His relationship with the audience is everything and he
achieves that by being funny and sad, understanding and coy, charming and
mischievous, and at times painfully honest. Delgaudio, the magician, becomes
whatever he needs to be to help us along on this most personal journey.
the time Derek Delgaudio is done with the telling, concluding with a mind
boggling final ten minutes you will never ever forget, you will be transfixed
and transformed. At that conclusion, when he asks you to stand up and believe
in who you are, who you chose to be represented by that white card you picked
out when you first walked into his domain, do so. Stand up. Believe in yourself
and do it. He wants you to. You won't regret it and you'll become a part of
this master’s final illusion. You’ll become a part of the touching, heartfelt,
glorious, empowering magical story he tells so well.
Derek Delgaudio & director Frank Oz
Daryl Roth Theatre
101 East 15th Street
New York, NY
$30 - $148
April 5 – Dec 30, 2017