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A friend of yours is a friend of mime

ILLUSIONS: An evening of Mime and Magic, at the Mirage Studio Theatre, Bos When does it go on unitl?ton Center for the Arts, starring Jim Vetter.

A mime and magic show is not the usual fare for my typical evening, nor is it for the average MIT student. I see the usual movie, listen to the occasional symphony or rock band, or go to one or two art openings. The last magician I saw was probably at a birthday party when I was in grade school. So, it was not without some trepidation that I set out to see "Illusions -- an evening of Mime and Magic".

The Mirage Studio Theatre, where the performance was held, is on the fourth floor of a very run-down building in the South End, part of the Boston Center for the Arts. You climb three flights of stairs, and are greeted by a crowd of about 20 people waiting on the landing for the door to open and let them into the theatre. About five minutes to eight (the performance was slated to begin at 8 pm), the doors opened, tickets were paid for, and the audience filed into the theater.

But, to be honest, it wasn't really much of a theater. About 30 comfortable chairs, set on risers, facing a stage with a few props on it. After some introductory music, Vetter, the sole performer (with the exception of one scene), appeared. Magic has always been something very hard for me to deal with. As a scientist, I want to know how everything works, but the little kid in me wants to just enjoy it and pretend it's magic. Vetter soon started to pick coins out of thin air, which I figured "oh, they are just up his sleeve", but when one appeared by my shoe, I couldn't see any method to it. Vetter interacted with the audience very well. The first part of the show was very audience-participatory, with Vetter managing to bring people up on stage with marginal force, and people being happy they were there.

Some other great sketches included "TV Dream," where Vetter finds himself trapped inside a television commercial. Vetter has a knack for doing lip-sync to prerecorded tapes (mostly of his own voice), and uses this effectivly in several sketches. My favorite sketch was "Walking on Air," where Vetter gives life to a walking stick, and is seems to dance around his hands. Impossible, I know, but I enjoyed making believe it was real magic. Or was it?

The show was not all magic. Vetter is a very good performer, whether he is doing mime, humorous monologue, or magic and mime at the same time. The entire show consisted of 10 separate pieces, each intending to poke fun at the illusions we see in day to day life. The first part of the show -- a combination of comedy and magic -- was more interesting than the second part, focused as it was on more traditional mime.

If you have any time, before finals, after finals, or whenever, Illusions will be playing until May 25th. For information call 267-4170. Tickets are $5.

Andrew Gerber->