"The Magic Play,” starring magician and actor Brett Schneider

SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse Stage concludes the 17/18 season with “The Magic Play,” starring magician and actor Brett Schneider and written by Andrew Hinderaker. Performances start April 25 and run through May 13 at the Archbold Theatre in the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama complex at 820 E. Genesee Street. Opening night is Friday, April 27.

Playwright Hinderaker wrote “The Magic Play” specifically for Schneider. The two have been collaborating since the earliest days of the process and Schneider created all the magic used in the show.

In the play, Schneider portrays a character identified simply as Magician. He is a young and successful entertainer. “The Magic Play” begins with Magician in the midst of a performance of sleight-of-hand tricks. As Magician, Schneider solicits participants from the audience to take part in his act giving the play the look and feel of a club engagement. A simultaneous live video feed allows the audience to witness the tricks in real time as they unfold.

Another part of “The Magic Play” concerns Magician’s life when he is not performing. Magician is dealing with the fallout from a recent break-up with his lover, a character called Diver played by Sean Parris. Diver is an aspiring Olympian. The question of whether Magician can repair his relationship with Diver becomes the dramatic center of the play.

“In its essence, ‘The Magic Play’ is about love and how you connect with someone. How can you be truthful and trust?,” said the show’s director Halena Kays. “We see [Magician] grapple with the idea of trust, what real trust is in interpersonal relationships and when dealing with the world as a whole.”

A third character in the play is identified as Another Magician. He is Magician’s father played by Jack Bronis. Though working, the father is less successful than the son, and the two have been estranged for a long time, which leaves Magician with another relationship in need of repair.

“Magician is extremely talented in his craft,” Hinderaker explained. “But when he loses the person he cares most about, he begins to question what is important. What has he given up to be good?”

Hinderaker said he was inspired to write “The Magic Play” because of the impact magic can have an audience.

“Magic sort of raises the bar for what you can expect from a piece of theatre,” he explained. “I’ve been to magic shows where people are gasping out loud, or where they’ve just burst into tears. And I can’t help but ask: why doesn’t theatre feel like that more often? My one hope is that people will come away and say, ‘I didn’t know theatre could look like that, feel like that.’”

In addition to the potential “wow” it might provide, Kays sees the magic as serving as a kind of metaphor for Magician’s troubled relationships.

“To perform magic, he must be in complete control of the audience—control of what they see, what they think, what they feel,” she said. “What happens if in real life you can’t relinquish that control?”

Tickets are now available at www.SyracuseStage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275 and in person at the Box Office.

“The Magic Play”

By Andrew Hinderaker

Directed by Halena Kays

With Magic Created by Brett Schneider

Scenic Designer: Lizzie Bracken

Costume Designer: Alison Siple

Lighting Designer: Jesse Belsky

Original Music & Sound Design: Matthew M. Nielson

Media Designer: Philip Allgeier

Magic Consultant: Jim Steinmeyer

Aerial Consultant: Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi

Stage Manager: Laura Jane Collins*

Flying Effects: ZFX, Inc.

Co-produced with Actors Theatre of Louisville and Portland Center Stage

Cast

Brett Schneider* The Magician

Sean Parris* The Diver

Jack Bronis* Another Magician

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

 

Special Events

April 25 Pay-What-You-Will Performance @ 7:30 p.m.

There will be 76 tickets available for whatever price patrons wish to pay. Pay-what-you-will tickets must be claimed in person at the Box Office on the day of the performance, subject to availability. The Box Office opens at 10 a.m. and will remain open until the start of the show. There is a limit of two tickets per person.

April 27 Opening Night Party (free for ticket holders)

Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music, food and drinks.

April 29 Prologue at 1 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, pre-show discussion with “The Magic Play” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

 

Actor Talkback (free for ticket holders)

A Q&A session with the actors following the 7 p.m. performance. The talkback will be held in the Archbold Theatre.

May 2 Wednesday @ 1 Discussion (free for ticket holders)

Take a closer look at the illusions in “The Magic Play” with magician James Warren. He is a distinguished illusionist who has performed hundreds of times at The Magic Castle, the famous private club for magicians in Hollywood. Warren also performs nationwide for schools, conferences, and private parties, providing a close-up view of magic. He has performed for and delighted celebrities such as Michelle Pfeiffer, Goldie Hawn, Warren Beatty, Smokey Robinson, and Sinbad. The lecture will begin at 1 p.m. in the Archbold Theatre.

 

Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

May 3 Happy Hour at 6 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

Enjoy complimentary appetizers from Maxwells, half-priced drinks and $5 drink specials at the bar.

May 5 Prologue at 2 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, pre-show discussion with “The Magic Play” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

ASL Interpreted Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

May 9 Dinner & Show ($50, includes dinner and show admission)

Enjoy a buffet dinner at 6 p.m. with fellow theatre lovers in the Sutton Pavilion. Seasonal fare prepared by Phoebe’s Restaurant followed by great theatre.

May 10 Prologue at 6:30 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, pre-show discussion with “The Magic Play” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

May 12 Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

 Open Captioning at 8 p.m. performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

May 13 Open Captioning at 2 p.m. performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

ABOUT SYRACUSE STAGE

Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premier professional theatre in residence at Syracuse University. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 300 plays in over 40 seasons including a number of world, American, and East Coast premieres. Each season 70,000 patrons enjoy an adventurous mix of new plays, and bold interpretations of classics and musicals, featuring the finest theatre artists. In addition, Stage maintains a vital educational outreach program that annually serves more than 15,000 students from 14 counties. A solid core of subscribers and supporters helps keep Syracuse Stage a vibrant artistic presence in Central New York. Additional support comes from the government, foundations, corporations and Syracuse University. Syracuse Stage is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA), the University Hill Corporation and the East Genesee Regent Association. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association in the country.

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