Magic is the mastery of mysterious and supernatural techniques that baffles even the most focused viewer. Live magic shows have always drawn attention because of their extraordinary elements of making the known unknown. RIC programming presented one of the most entertaining virtual events of the fall semester before Thanksgiving break, inviting world-class magician Dennis Watkins to the zoom stage. Although magic is typically experienced in-person, Watkins’ expertise managed to awe 15 RIC student screens just the same.
Watkins’ set-up was similar to what one would see at a magic show in Vegas. A dark red curtain loomed in the background while Watkins demonstrated his tricks in the foreground on a black table. Wearing a black suit and maroon tie, Watkins truly brought “The Magic Parlour,” his accredited magic show, to our 13-inch laptop screens.
A deck of cards and an array of manipulating mind games were all Watkins needed. One card game, in particular, stood out from the rest; a game that his grandfather performed years ago when he was a kid. Watkins had a student pick a card and mark it with a distinct symbol. He then placed the marked four of spades back into the deck of cards, in which he shuffled aggressively. The deck was split into some cards facing upwards and others facing downward, creating a situation that the marked four of spades was indeed shuffled out of place. After a few comical utterings, Watkins spread the cards into a semi-circle, revealing the marked card to be the only one facing up. The students applauded in content.
Watkins also “read” the mind of a RIC student by playing an imaginary card game. After telling the student to think of a card in their head, he guided them through a series of actions to do with the imaginary cards. At the end of it, Watkins held a single card from his deck in his hand and asked the student to say what card they were thinking of. Of course, Watkins held the card the student was thinking of. He then proceeded by saying, “it’s not about doing the trick right, it’s about finding the right person.”
Watkins is a veteran magician from Chicago who has performed on FOX, ABC and the A&E Network. The power of magic runs in his family as he is a third-generation magician following in the footsteps of his grandfather. Due to COVID-19, he has not been able to perform with a live audience and therefore adapted his show to a virtual setting. Since March, he has conducted over 100 virtual shows, showcasing his efficient savviness.
RIC programming plans to host a slate of entertaining events for RIC students for the rest of the semester and spring 2021. Despite all the events being held virtually, they plan on attempting to encourage RIC students to attend and have a good time.
Maci Dorantes, vice president of RIC programming, said, “This semester has been very tough getting students to be engaged and join our events due to the fact that everything is virtual. The magic show was a great event that showed that virtual events can too be fun. We saw so many new faces and are excited to see the turnout for future events.”