Inspired by the notion that the roots of projected imagery and cinema were initially part of the magician’s stock in trade and that the performance of magic may be seen as a modern-day equivalent of one of legendary storyteller Shahrazad’s most fantastical tales, magician and author David Ben—one of the world’s foremost sleight-of-hand artists—has collaborated with writer and Canadian broadcasting icon Patrick Watson to create a unique exploration of magic as a theatrical art.
In his seminal 1945 book A Grammar of Motives, literary theorist Kenneth Burke suggested that “the scene contains the act” — that the setting of a play inevitably implies the action that is to unfold. With this idea also in mind, Ben and Watson take us on a fascinating journey, choreographing principles of deception dating from John Baptista Porta’s 1558 scientific treatise Natural Magick, with more modern notions of naturalism espoused by 20th century master magician Dai Vernon. Ben recreates magic from the repertoire of the world’s master magicians, revisiting feats of wonder in the context of “scenes” realized through the prism of projected imagery and John Lang’s playful score.
Photos by David Linsell.