Coins disappeared and reappeared; money changed in value; cards vanished from decks and materialized in pockets. This was the scene at Friends Hall on Tuesday, at College Programming Board’s last Tuesday Night Live of the semester. The show featured magician Ran’D Shine, who brought students up-close and personal for a stupefying spectacle of magic.
Before Shine took the stage, student opener Alex Hotek performed, Keytar in tow. Hotek sang a few original songs along with two covers, Justin Timberlake’s "Cry Me a River" and Imogen Heap’s "Hide and Seek."
After Hotek warmed up the crowd, Shine gathered the intimate group around a small round table to perform some close-up magic. According to Shine, this type of performance is not typical, but the venue and audience made it possible for him to execute some more difficult, up-close tricks.
"This was something special, something challenging," Shine explained.
Shine initially began his career as a magician after completing his master’s degree. What Shine describes as a passion turned into a full time career that has carried him all around the world and to peformances like at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
"Magic was just a hobby when I was working on my master’s, and I just got really involved in it and some of my friends who I used to do magic with as a hobby in the master’s program, they all became full time magicians," Shine said. "I was the last one to become a full time magician, and it was just a passion. It was like a calling, so I said, ‘Let me give myself a year working as a full time magician,’ and one year ended up being eight years."
Shine gave the students something to gasp about with his many tricks involving coins, cards, eggs and even money. Audience participation was a major part of the show, and almost all of the tricks were performed with the help of a student.
Along with the customary "pick-a-card" tricks, some of the magic included guessing the biggest word on the top line of a book from a page that a student randomly selected. Another involved making two spongy yellow balls multiply in a student’s clamped hands. In yet another trick, he asked a member of the audience to write his initials on a $10 bill, which then turned into a $1 bill, only for the original $10 to appear at the end of the show in a sealed bag of cookies.
The show stunned students, especially because most of the time they were directly involved in the magic. Even standing side-by-side with Shine, students were unable to figure out his tricks. Sophomore Ailona Parker, who participated in an act, described the experience as nerve-racking but fun.
"I was nervous when I went up there. I don’t like surprises, but I had fun regardless," Parker said.
Tailoring his performance to an audience and working a college crowd is nothing new to Shine, who is a college-campus regular.
"Colleges are my primary market. When I’m not performing at colleges and universities, I’m performing at corporate events and private events. At colleges, I can do a more rated-R show," Shine said. "It’s much more like a stand-up comedian; you can say anything, and it’s not as conservative. You can have a lot of fun with college students."
According to sophomore Michelle Forbes, the show was exactly that: fun.
"The show was crazy! The magic looked so real," said Forbes, who also assisted in one of the tricks. "I wanted to see what really happened, like I was waiting to see the tricks, but he was legit. He did a really good job."