Friday, February 18, 2011

The Illusionist

The music started slowly and the lights went dim to mark the beginning of the show. Just minutes earlier I was ushered in by Dimitrie Leonida's very own illusionist. He has performed on stage many times before whether that stage was a small space in one of the classrooms or in front of hundreds of students at the "Casa de Cultura". Despite his many previous performances, as he brought me in I could sense that he was nervous, soon to be on stage at the theater in front of a large number of screaming children.

The large majority of the crowd came from the elementary schools in town. I couldn't help but try and put myself in the shoes of those children.
"Wow, a magic show! I can't wait! I wonder if he'll disappear. Pick me, Pick me. Did you see that?"

Next I tried to put myself in the shoes of the few high-school students in the crowd.
"That's lame, I totally know how he did that trick. There's nothing magic about this. Ok, I admit that one was pretty cool."

Finally, sitting next to some of my colleagues I imagined what they might be thinking which was similar to what I was thinking at the time.
"He looks nervous. I hope he rehearsed this. I hope he performs well. Wow, that was a nice trick."

It was a nice trick. They were all nice tricks even though a couple of the illusions he gave away if you were keeping a really good eye on them. I'm sure the kids didn't see him give anything away. They were in awe the entire time, especially when one of their classmates was chosen by the illusionist to come up on stage.

The first of two Friday shows turned out to be a success. There were a couple of minor slip ups, so I heard from my colleague who was sitting next to me and who already knew about all of the tricks. I hope that the second show was a complete success with the first acting as a rehearsal. The Primar was planning on attending the second show as well as more students from the high schools. You've got to be flawless while performing in front of a high school crowd. Some of the highlights included turning a dove into a snake, levitating a small girl chosen from the crowd, and splitting his body at the waist.

Friday at the magic show I experienced yet again one of those great rewards of being a teacher. The illusionist is not one of my students but I see him often in the hall and every time he stops me to say hello and ask me how I'm doing. He hangs out outside of the teachers room where he sees and talks to his friends and many of the teachers. In the week leading up to the show he slipped me two tickets and asked me to come. In the day of the show he showed me the sign that had been posted there for 2 weeks to remind me of both the 2:00 option and the 3:20 option. It's great seeing a student excel at something, especially something independent. Though the illusionist has friends helping him with the show he created the event, he is the main act, and he took the initiative himself rather than having a teacher constantly reminding him, or a parent pushing him into a hobby. Everybody has their own skills, hobbies, niches. The illusionist somehow stumbled upon a hobby that he enjoyed so much as to develop it and now he's using it to do good. Not only is he using it to put that look of wonder and amazement on the faces of those little kids sitting near the front, he is also donating a large portion of the proceeds from the show to a local charity. Abracadabra.

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