What’s going on? It’s the Spencers’ ‘Illusion’

Kevin and Cindy Spencer have done scores of illusions during their 25 years of performing magic.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2008 12:00am
  • Life

Kevin and Cindy Spencer will perform “Theatre of Illusion” April 19 at the Northshore Performing Arts Center.

Kevin and Cindy Spencer have done scores of illusions during their 25 years of performing magic.

They’ve floated on air, escaped from water-filled containers and walked through the spinning blades of industrial fans.

But their longest-running trick is making every audience member feel child-like curiosity.

“People have stopped being fascinated by the wonders that are all around them,” Kevin said. “I want to reconnect people with that. There are things that are still amazing in this world of technology that we live in.”

The Spencers will bring their high-tech, contemporary magic act to the Northshore Performing Arts Center April 19, when they present “Theater of Illusion.”

“I want the audience to suspend its disbelief for two hours and believe anything is possible,” Kevin said.

“Theatre of Illusion” aims to mesh elements from every performing-art form into a single performance.

“It’s a show that we’ve developed over the years to combine our love for theater and magic,” Kevin said. “We’re big fans of stage performance, whether its plays, dance, musicals, or anything else. We felt the art of illusion could move people the same way those art forms do.”

The Spencer brand of theater aims for suspense, comedy and romance, all in the same show.

“We try to take our audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions,” Cindy says.

The Spencers make a point of distinguishing themselves from the images traditionally associated with their trade.

“If you’re honest with yourself, some of those stereotypes aren’t so positive,” Kevin said. “People think of a guy in a cape with a cane and top hat and birds and rabbits. We’re kind of the other end of the spectrum.”

Part of what separates the Spencers’ act from other magicians is the scope of their shows. The duo travels with more than 12 tons of equipment — most of it high-tech — while performing at venues throughout the country.

Their act is more akin to David Copperfield’s than those of the birthday-party magicians who perform in living rooms.

That puts them in a different class of performer, but also means they have to distinguish themselves from that other award-winning illusionist.

“So much of what we’re doing in our show is unique to us,” Kevin said. “It’s all about presentation. Our styles are very different.

“Copperfield brought magic into the 20th century, and I think what we’re trying to do is bring it into the 21st century.”

The Spencers make audience participation an ongoing component of their shows these days. They always pull a few patrons on stage, and have promised to perform at least one trick that involves the entire crowd.

“I think that brings a real personal side to the show,” Kevin said. “For Cindy and I, it’s really fun because it requires spontaneity. It brings that unexpected element.”

The Spencers established a program in 1984 called Healing of Magic, which is designed to help patients with rehabilitation by teaching them to perform tricks.

Kevin, who once suffered closed-head and spinal-cord injuries in an automobile accident, says he knows what the process is like.

“I realized how boring physical and occupational therapy can be,” he said. “With this program, you’re learning the tricks and doing therapy in the process. You end up with something to show somebody when you’re done, so there’s extra motivation and incentive.”

• For tickets and more information, visit www.npacf.org.

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