There is magic in the air at Elmira District Secondary School. Drama teacher DJ Carroll has been teaching his Grade 11 students stage magic over the last few weeks and they’ve really taken to the challenge, performing tricks for their classmates in the hallways before, during and after school. For their final project, the students will be holding a show for the public to show off the tricks they’ve learned.
There will be two shows, the first on Friday night at 7 p.m. for friends and family and the second on Monday afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m. for local grade schools to attend.
“The show basically gives them a chance to show off what they have learned over the course of a few weeks,” said Carroll. “It gives them a chance to perform for two different audiences and see how different ages react to different tricks.”
The show will feature close-up magic tricks, like card or cup tricks that require audience participation: volunteers will be brought up on stage to watch the magicians every move. The performance will also have some really big tricks that involve people disappearing and reappearing on the stage. A practicing magician before he became a teacher, Carroll thought it would be fun to incorporate magic into his lessons. The kids have been practicing for weeks perfecting not only their magical skills but the “magicians patter” that keep the audience involved.
“I tell the kids at the start of this unit that they will be learning how to do magic and they are under the oath not to reveal any of the secrets that I will tell them,” he said.
Carroll has already had four or five students take a real shine to the tricks and have progressed further on their own, taking up other tricks he did not teach them.
“Some of these kids are really good at doing this kind of stuff and I think it is fantastic that every year I am setting up a generation of kids that are actually interested in doing magic.”
To learn a trick it takes time and patience, he explained. Some, like the self-working tricks, take are few minutes to get the hang of, while others take days and weeks of practicing before the students have them perfected.
“The added bonus to any trick is putting your own personality into it, and these kids have come up with some great spots for the show,” said Carroll.
The show will feature each student performing various magic tricks and stunts with some students teaming up to perform group magic tricks.
“I really enjoy doing magic especially when you see the people’s faces after the reveal and they are so mystified by your trick. It is a real confidence booster and gives me pleasure to know that I have entertained someone,” said Karley Schaefer, one of Carroll’s students. “My friends are always asking me how did you do that, but I know the oath and will not give away any of the secrets.”