Magic by any other name

This evening I went with a friend to see part 1 of the two part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. It was an astonishing experience.

When I was a teenager I spent one summer working at a performing arts camp. There was a professional magician on the payroll, and one day he and I got into a discussion about the difference between stage magic and theater special effects.

He told me that the difference is entirely one of framing: If you are watching a magic act, then it’s stage magic. If you are watching a play or musical, then it’s theater special effects.

This evening my friend and I witnessed what I am quite sure is the most magical thing I have ever seen on a stage. And I have a feeling that what we will see tomorrow evening will top even what we saw tonight.

I know that technically speaking, since it was in the context of a play, what we saw should be called “theater special effects”. But to me, it was just pure magic.

2 Responses to “Magic by any other name”

  1. Adrian says:

    I wish I could have seen Doug Henning as Merlin on Broadway. Would the illusions in that show have been considered theatrical effects or stage magic?

  2. admin says:

    I saw that show. I think that would definitely be considered stage magic. That show was clearly a magic act. There was a thin veneer of a story, but everyone knew that was just an excuse for Doug Henning’s cool magic tricks.

    Although, having seen them both, I personally prefer the theatrical special effects of Harry Potter.

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