Magicana’s artistic director, David Ben, is the magic consultant for Stratford Festival’s world premiere of the translation of Eduardo De Filippo’s Grand Magic.
The play, a comedy, tells the story of a once great illusionist, Otto Marvuglia who has fallen on hard times and is reduced to performing at a sea-side resort in Naples. Bored, depressed and impoverished, Otto causes quite a stir one fateful evening when he vanishes Marta, the wife of Calogero Di Spelta, a controlling and jealous husband. When Marta fails to reappear, however, events take a darker turn. We watch Calogero descend into madness as he is forced to confront the harsh reality of his own make-believe world. Or, is Calogero’s unravelling the result of the great Otto’s magical hold over his mind?
In this beautiful play, David Ben was asked to unleash the power of illusion and to meet the real-life challenges of presenting magic in the round. And, in doing so, David also had to answer the rigour of De Filippo’s demanding stage direction, by creating great and convincing magic—including making a bird disappear from its bird cage—that is both artistic and magical, yet practical for the actor playing the part of a magician.
How does David do it?
In this five-minute video produced by Stratford, David Ben explains not only his role as magic consultant, but he also offers insight to how a magician thinks, how to explore new ideas and how to create real illusion while meeting the confines of a great playwright’s vision. It’s a fascinating look into creating new and beautiful magic for the stage.
Grand Magic is on stage until September 29.