With a slide of their hand and some playful trickery, Cal State Fullerton Student Associates hosted Kevin Blake’s Virtual Magic Show on April 15 to engage students in a mind-blowing magical experience through their computer screens.
Kevin Blake is a critically acclaimed magician who has appeared on several shows, including “America’s Got Talent,” “Penn & Teller: Fool us,” and “Thrillist.”
Blake hosted in a vintage theater that had secret rooms, a bar, and a library. He started the evening with some simple tricks by inviting the students to join him on the virtual stage as he pulled all the cards they named from a stack of playing cards.
Throughout the show, Blake worked his way through the theater, performing a different trick in each piece – making the theater its own character in his show. With her second trick, Blake engaged a student audience member with a card trick that brought out the student’s “extra sensory perception”.
“The idea that you might be able to send something extra with extra meaning. It’s kind of like having psychic powers okay,” Blake said.
After the student managed to name all the cards without seeing them, Blake left the audience wondering how he had managed.
Blake’s biggest trick of the night was left for the end of the show. After touring the theater, Blake found himself back where he started, on the front of the stage. It was there that he invited another student to help him set up his next trick.
“I want us to choose a word, I want to put on the checklist a list of words that are synonymous or related to the idea of magic and you are going to help me choose one.” So all you’re gonna do is help me choose a word, we’re gonna roll some dice and roll them on the table. We will add them up whatever number we have,” Blake said.
After mixing and adding, Blake came up with the word “spooky”. From then on, he asked six students to participate by giving him a number. Blake wrote down the numbers and held up a box.
“This box contains a wish. I wanted a lottery ticket. Every day I ask six people to give me six numbers, and every day they get it wrong,” Blake said.
Blake shocked his audience by revealing a lottery ticket printed with the six numbers the students had just provided him with.
As the students watched in wonder, the magician concluded the show by adding the magic word.
“This whole night has been absolutely spooky,” Blake said.
The final round demonstrated how Blake tied the whole show together with subtle bits he gave the audience throughout the night.
Zaynab Alhakawati, one of ASI’s event coordinators, said the idea of hosting a virtual magic show came from Trang Tan, ASI’s student programmer.
“I know we wanted something really engaging and that’s something we definitely took out of this event. It was really cool to see him calling students, and kind of like, being in the studio in person on Zoom So I really enjoyed that aspect too,” Alhakawati said.
Much like the audience, Alhakawati said she had no idea how Blake pulled off his impressive tricks.
“Of course, since none of us have any experience in magic or anything like that. But it was kind of fun to sit there and sort of analyze, ‘oh my god, how do you think you did that?’ said Alhakawati.
Alhakawati said the planning process meant they had to leave a lot of trust in the hands of the artist. This confidence paid off as Alhakawati said she was happy with the results.
Alhakawati and her colleagues at ASI said they hope to put on a live magic show for students if they can safely return to campus in the fall.
“If the pandemic ends and we could go to campus, have a show like this in person, say like at the TSU pub or something would also be really cool, so think about different opportunities for the future said Alhakawati.
Alhakawati also said she encourages students to keep an eye out for future events.
“We’ve been working hard to keep students engaged virtually over the past year, and it’s really challenging, but it’s a great way for us as coordinators to gain more experience. and help other students,” Alhakawati said.