The stage was nearly empty. A plain, black bag sat on a stool in the center. A microphone stand was located downstage left and a sheet of paper, mysteriously reading “Finale” was taped to the curtain. It was a full house. Latecomers lined the railings for a better view. At 8 p.m., after a short introduction by the show’s organizers, Student Activities Committee members Zack Meyer ’14 and Eric King ’14, Peter Boie took the stage, and the magic began.
Boie, whose interest in magic was sparked by a library book at age 11, describes himself on his website as a “magician for non-believers.” He states that it is his goal to make people stop wondering if the magic is real or not so they can simply enjoy the show. To this end, he was very successful. Boie’s effortless stage presence and his ability to improvise with the on-stage students kept the crowd engaged and laughing.
After some fancy sleight of hand tricks with scarves and playing cards, Boie invited a student to join him on stage to contemplate an age-old question: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Armed with her preferred flavor and a device to help her count, the student returned to the audience and began licking. Boie’s show, however, was just getting started.
Boie’s favorite trick involved two students, Jake and Maggie, and chalkboards. Boie instructed the student volunteers to sit on opposite sides of the stage and introduced the illusion as sort of a séance.
He gave Maggie the two chalkboards with a piece of chalk sandwiched between them and had her close her eyes. Boie then walked over to the Jake and tapped him twice on the shoulder. When Boie asked Maggie if she had felt anything, she said she felt two taps on her shoulder. The same trick was then successfully repeated with the two students exchanging roles. In case this wasn’t impressive enough, Boie concluded the illusion by asking Maggie to hold up the chalkboards. “I’m here, Maggie,” had suddenly appeared, apparently written by a visiting spirit.
The framework of this illusion – a sort of trick within a trick – was another part of the brilliance of the show. Remember that student with the Tootsie Pop? Boie asked her if she’d reached the center yet. Replying in the affirmative, she reported that it had taken her 1,574 licks to reach the center. Now that Boie knew the number of licks, he performed just a few more illusions before beginning to bring the show to a close. As his final trick though he escaped from a straightjacket as an encore, Boie took down the “Finale” sign that we had all but forgotten about. The Tootsie Pop student was invited on stage one last time to read Boie’s prediction. Sure enough, the writing on the paper correctly predicted both the flavor cherry and the number of licks 1,574.
“I was genuinely freaked out at times,” said Brandon Cash ’16, who was in the audience.
“I didn’t know people could do that,” Hannah Sorrells ’14 said.
“I’m starting to think [Boie is] in cahoots with the devil,” Patrick Rogan ’14 said.
When asked about their favorite illusions of the night, students seemed to agree with Boie. Almost everyone referenced the chalkboards. Other popular tricks involved Boie accurately predicting a word in the periodical Newsweek that a student chose at random and a plastic egg suddenly turning into a real egg.
If you missed this show, then you missed out. The brilliant blend of logic-defying illusions and witty one-liners was, as Johanna Fay ’13 said, “magical.”