Drama students at Elmira District Secondary School have more than a few tricks up their sleeves.DJ Carroll’s class will show off their best David Blaine moves next week for family and friends, followed by a kiddy show the next day. Carroll started doing magic as part of the drama course about seven years ago, and says the students love it.
“Before I became a teacher I did magic shows and toured around,” Carroll said. “When I got into teaching I still did magic shows, in the summer and weekends and I just thought this is a skill that would be really fun to pass on.”
He adds it ties in to the course because part of their curriculum is they have to put on a show for an audience. A magic show fits the bill because they have to plan it, script it, rehearse it, do the lighting, do the sound, and everything else a theatre show would have.
They’ll be doing a range of different tricks and illusions.
“We have close-up magic tricks, so coin and card tricks, all the way up to disappearing people on the stage, and crazy escape routines,” Carroll said.
Nikki Danvers says her favourite part about learning magic is the free range creativity it allows. She says her dad was also a drama aficionado when he was in high school.
“I started in Grade 7 when I moved from my old town where they didn’t have a drama program,” Danvers said. “It’s actually part of the curriculum and I just enjoyed it.”
One of the biggest challenges she’s found in putting together the show is timing. Some of the tricks she’ll be participating in are quick changes, being “stabbed” with umbrellas while inside a box, and switching places with her classmate, Kayla, using a box.
They’ve had some bumps along the way to learning magic, but nothing disastrous.
“Kayla got stuck in a bag five minutes ago because she was on the wrong side of the bag, so I actually tied her in a bag and she was stuck,” Danvers says with a laugh.
Ryan Bauman says he joined drama because he’s always enjoyed performing. As for his tricks, he’s been working on the classic ‘where’d the ball go?’
“I’ve been doing something like a chop cup, which is basically a ball disappearing and appearing under a cup,” he said.
Bauman notes they’ve accidentally locked their thumbs in thumb cuffs a couple times. He says another obstacle when performing magic is making the tricks look smooth and believable, something they learn from watching the pros.
“It’s really interesting seeing how all the tricks are done professionally,” Bauman said.
Carroll says the number one benefit of this is if they learn how to do magic and juggling, they can use that as a skill to do a job. He did magic through university, which helped pay the bills. It’s a neat talent to have, but more importantly, it’s a confidence booster.
“That’s the biggest thing is that they learn how to do something a lot of the population doesn’t know how to do,” Carroll said. “So they just learn a whole new skill set that they can go off saying ‘I know how to do that,’ and feel proud of it.”
The show is January 21 at 7 p.m. in the EDSS auditorium. Admission is free and they’re collecting non-perishable food items for the Woolwich food bank. They’re also doing a show the following day for students at Riverside Public School.