Master of illusion to appear, in the flesh

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Master of illusion to appear, in the flesh

David Copperfield may not have made it to North Korea, but he is performing here in the South from today through Sunday. The “Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion: David Copperfield Magic Show” at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts promises to be a big spectacle.
Quite possibly the greatest illusionist of this day and age, Copperfield has wowed audiences with stunts like levitating himself over the Grand Canyon, walking through the Great Wall of China, making the Statue of Liberty disappear and escaping from Alcatraz Island.
He performs about 550 shows a year around the world. If the numbers don’t add up to the days in a year, it’s not magic; the consummate performer works more than one show a day.
For his performances in Seoul, he’s brought more than 60 tons of equipment, and of course some pretty ladies, to recreate the Copperfield in Las Vegas experience. He’ll be performing nine major acts, including his famous “Death Saw,” “Closing Cycle,” “Grandpa” and “Sofa.”
In “Death Saw,” he must escape from the confines of a box before being sawed in half. “Closing Cycle,” which was well received at his last performance in Korea 10 years ago, has him riding a motorcycle.
“Grandpa” was one of the first tricks Copperfield learned, and to this day he likes including it in his shows. Also during his show, he will invite two people from the audience to sit on a sofa, then cause it to rise.
One of the newer acts he will unveil is “Lottery,” which also includes audience participation as he predicts numbers.
When Copperfield was growing up in New Jersey as David Seth Kotkin, he was originally interested in becoming a ventriloquist. He walked into a store selling ventriloquial props, and walked out with a bag of tricks. Thus began a career that would win him 19 Emmys and a knightship with the French government, the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.
By the age of 12, he was performing magic tricks as “Davino, Boy Magician.” When he was 16, he was teaching his profession at New York University, and became the youngest person admitted to the Society of American Magicians.
He landed a role in the musical “The Magic Man,” produced in Chicago, where he took on the stage name David Copperfield. He has since been idolized as the greatest magician of the times.
Despite calling himself an illusionist, he has in fact placed himself in dangerous situations, and once accidentally sliced off a fingertip.
He also makes magic available to disabled people with Project Magic, a rehabilitation program that helps patients regain dexterity, coordination and self-esteem by learning magic. The project is now available in more than 30 countries.
He’s known even in the remotest corners of the world. According to an article in the New Republic, North Korea tried to get Copperfield to perform there in 1995. Financing issues eventually crippled the project. But surely many in Korea would be delighted if he could rattle off an abracadabra or two and make the two countries one.


by Joe Yong-hee

Tickets are 40,000 ($34) to 200,000 won. More information is available at www.davidcopperfield2004.co.kr, or call (02) 3472-4480.
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