WASHINGTON -- Magic shows tend to evoke images of sequined jumpsuits and rabbits in hats, but that's not exactly the sort of thing magicians (or, as they prefer, semi-pro conjurors) Daryl Hannah, Louie Magic and Dennis Diamond are into. The zany bunch are showing off their special brand of magic Jan. 20 through Feb. 26 at Arena Stage with their stage production, "Elephant Room."
The show, Diamond said in an interview with The Huffington Post, is all about "pushing the limits of what's a magic show [and] what's a play." The result is a scripted performance that includes a wide range of traditional and not-so-traditional tricks, including stage illusions, juggling, mentalism, slight of hand and comedy. They're even working with the Smithsonian National Zoo, he claims. "Without naming any names, let's just say that they might be one elephant short."
What is a conjuror, exactly? Not a juggler, that's for sure, Diamond stressed.
"We're not jugglers, we're conjurers," Diamond said. "A conjurer creates a magical moment where your mind and your eyes get into a wrestling match. And guess what, your mind loses! That's different than a juggler. A juggler sees and thinks the same thing at all times."
Absurdism seems to be a defining aspect of the "Elephant Room." A quote from the release perhaps says it best:
"Combine the glory of a Styx reunion tour, with the transcendental power of a 200-year-old Zuni shaman and add a dash of trailer park ennui and you come close to describing the mystical pull of a trip to the Elephant Room."
During the course of the interview, it was difficult to tell where the three men started and their characters began -- check out those 'staches! -- with two of the three men boasting stage-worthy performance names and the third a moniker strikingly similar to a certain famous actress from the 1980s.
Hannah insists his name was given to him at birth ("What would my mother say if I changed my name? She worked hard on that!"), but Diamond and Magic very much inhabit the dramatic personas they've created for themselves. Magic has even gone so far as to change his name legally.
"I equate it to gay marriage," Magic said of the name change. "When it finally was legalized, it was just inevitable. Everyone was like, 'Oh great, now it's official,' but you're basically a couple anyway for 20 years ... I've always been Louis Magic, and now that it's legal. It's like, 'Alright, that's how it should have been awhile ago.'"
What else can audiences expect at the show? Diamond posed the following challenge to this reporter: Think of a number between one and 10. Multiply it by two, add the number eight, divide that number in half, then subtract the original secret number. Convert into a letter (one is A, two is B, etc.) and think of a country that begins with that letter. Take the second letter of that country's name, think of an animal that starts with that letter, and then think of the color of that animal.
When all the steps were completed, Diamond replied, "There are no gray elephants in Denmark!" He was right, there aren't any natives ones -- but his guess was indeed the correct final result in this case, seemingly plucked out of his head without trickery. Gasps of "that's crazy!" were answered with "It's not crazy, it's mental magic."
Click through the below slideshow -- especially the videos -- for a preview of what to expect.