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David Copperfield charms audiences with his magic

David Copperfield
The Wang Center.
March 6-8.

By Danny Su

Arts Staff

e made the Statue of Liberty disappear, flew over the Grand Canyon, walked through the Great Wall of China, and escaped from Alcatraz. But David Copperfield's annual special illusions are more of a television product than a magic show. Just before the networks air each new illusion, he goes on every late-night talk show and promotes his new stunt. If you are looking for Copperfield to bring magic into a new dimension in his special illusions, you will be disappointed. His live show lacks substance, but he makes up for it with his style. The magic of David Copperfield is more than just magic; as he puts it, his performance is the combination of illusion, dance, movement, and music. In simple terms, it's show business.

. Copperfield then sets up the appropriate atmosphere with elaborate stage sets. For the mysterious levitation illusion, he places you in the jungle of the Amazon as if a wizard is performing a religious ritual. The acts are also beautifully choreographed. Copperfield and his assistants move with ease around the stage. Their transitions are so smooth that you barely notice any break. He captures your attention with music, scenery, and movement. After he has assured your full concentration, he climaxes the act with a perfectly executed illusion.

There is no lull in the evening's excitement. Copperfield bridges the gaps between "tricks" with witty remarks. After shrinking himself down to about two feet, he comments, "This is how Danny DeVito was made." The audience seems to appreciate his humor almost as much as his magical skill.

Copperfield closes the distance between himself and the crowd with plenty of audience participation.

The most enjoyable part of the show was when Copperfield walked down the stage and performed the illusions right in front of our eyes. He strolled down the aisle and asked a woman to unfold a piece of tissue paper for him. He then crumpled the paper and placed it in his palm. As he moved his other hand around, the paper began to move around. The paper then levitated, circled around him, and danced to the beat of the music. He then uncrumpled the paper and folded it into a rose faster than you can imagine. Just like before, the rose danced and moved around as if it had a life of its own. Then Copperfield lit the rose, producing a spectacular flame. When the flame disappeared, a real rose appeared out of nowhere. He gave the rose to the woman in return for a kiss.

The highlight of the evening occurred when Copperfield explained his long-time fantasy of flying like a bird. He set up the illusion with film clips of how people have attempted in the past to fly like a bird with wings around their arms. When the laughter subsides, he then levitates off the stage and flies with ease. He moves left and right, glides in different angles, does occasional flips in the air, and passes through loops to prove that he isn't hanging by a string. For good measure, he then lands in a transparent and completely sealed container that had been inspected by two people in the audience. But he still flies like a bird in the container. Then Copperfield caps off his act with a big surprise. He takes a lady from the audience, puts her in his arms, and gives her a ride in the air! When he finally lands, he receives a well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd.

The show was enjoyable and I thought it was worth every penny. However, I came to the show with unreasonably high expectations and was therefore a bit disappointed. I had seen some of Copperfield's tricks before, either from past performances or on television. But I didn't go just for his magic - I went for total entertainment and that's what I got. If you didn't have the money to see him live, you can definitely catch him March 31 at 8 p.m. on CBS, when he will perform his annual special illusion.