In and Of Itself Review - Being, Illusion, and Magic

A writer, performance artist, and two-time Academy of Magical Arts award-winning magician, Derek DelGaudio again demonstrates his masterful ability to develop user-friendly magic which is more a theater production than a simple magic show. DelGaudio manages to transform illusion into reality and vice versa. He is a personable and gentle performer who puts the audience at ease while weaving a magical filament around them. In this performance, he demonstrates that each individual may have many ways to define himself and, on top of that, may appear very different in the eyes of others. DelGaudio first presents himself as a “rollatista,” which is really how he was seen by someone else.

Master Magician Derek DelGaudio - Photo by Jeff Lorch

You might ask what a “rollatista” is, and that would be a reasonable question. Think of a man who defeats Russian roulette repeatedly – even when he adds enough bullets to finally fill all chambers in the gun. Master magician DelGaudio continues to tell anecdotes and fables which may turn out to be true – or are they? Actual magic with a deck of cards, a disappearing brick, and a boat that magically appears inside a closed bottle is almost secondary to his conversations with and pointers to the audience. In order to involve the audience even more, an audience volunteer each night leaves the show early with a journal and returns the next night to share his journal entry with others. During the show which was reviewed, Mr. Yesterday discussed his reactions to the earlier show; and Ms. Tomorrow left shortly thereafter. At one point, DelGaudio seemed to outdo even himself. When an audience member was picked at random, chose an envelope from a pile addressed to DelGuadio, and found a message from her children and grandchildren within, the audience was convinced that magic really existed. And let’s not forget DelGaudio’s ability to match each audience member with a specific card which that individual picked before the show. We all need a memory like that!

Derek DelGaudio - Photo by Jeff Lorch

Director Frank Oz - a four-time Emmy winner and recipient of the Art Directors Guild award, the Saturn Liifetime Achievement Award, the Comedy Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award - has outdone himself in creating theater out of what could have been a humdrum magic show. Oz really seems to understand how to make ideas become tangible and involving. Producer Glenn Kaino helps define the fantasy. Also crucial to the production is Adam Blumenthal’s superb lighting which sets the mood for the entire show. To the artists involved, magic has always been real. IN & OF ITSELF is a once-in-a-lifetime production and should not be missed. In case you were wondering, the ending is unexpected and spectacular.

Producter Glenn Kaino, Illusionist Derek DelGaudio, and Director Frank Oz - Photo by Jeff Lorch

IN AND OF ITSELF runs through July 10, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater is located at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Tickets start at $100. Based on seat availability, $35 rush tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to curtain time. For information and reservations, call 310-208-5454 or go online to the Geffen Playhouse website.

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