by Amrita Ramanan, Literary Manager
In preparation for Elephant Room, I sat down with magicians Daryl Hannah, Dennis Diamond and Louie Magic to discuss how they first met, their pre-show rituals and why magic is important today. Here are excerpts from that conversation and check Stage Banter and Sub/Text: Your Virtual Dramaturg for a conversation with writers/creators Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle in future posts!
Amrita: What inspired you to pursue a career as a magician? And what kind of training did you receive?
Louie: Becoming a magician is not something you choose to do; it chooses you! At a pretty young age it was clear that I excelled at magic. I was doing tricks all the time. I used to hang out in the back of a Toy Shop near Patterson, New Jersey, where a lot of the local magicians would hang out. That's when I started meeting a lot of "pros" and it dawned on me, "Hey, I could make a living doing this!" And I have ever since.
Daryl: I can answer that in one word. Four letters. L.I.F.E. It has always been both my inspiration and my training. I didn't just wander into this at a young age. It found me. When everything else started to disappear and I was searching for all the wrong things, LIFE tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You know what you need my friend, my friend sitting here in an '87 Datsun hatchback, you need a little Magic in your life." So then I took that little tap, that nudge on my soul. And that's the thing about Magic. When you have questions, it answers them. "What does it all mean?" ……and Magic says, "Boosh, sparkle, skavaam." It’s all there, right in front of you. Or is it? Mystery is mysterious.
Dennis: My inspiration comes from that great "M" word through which we are first indoctrinated into this world - Not "Mommy!" - but rather – Mystery….Who knows where we came from or where we are off to next when our short time on this planet is over…This "mystery" surrounds us - it births us, it is under our feet and in our very DNA. The secrets of the universe are vast and unknown. What fun the universe must have to keep them from us! What song is that the woodcock sings the wren? Exactly! I take great inspiration from the world around me. As for training, my initial foray into showbiz was dance. I took tap and modern from the Tyra D. Angelus company until I was 14. It always gave me a good attention to detail.
Amrita: Elephant Room marks the first collaboration between the three of you. When did you first meet and what has it been like working together onstage?
Louie: It's great working with Dennis and Daryl on this show. We've known of each other for a long time. We'd always hang out at the Conventions Society of American Magicians (SAM) and International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM). One night in the hotel bar a few years back, Daryl came over to myself and Dennis and said, "Let's put the band back together!" Now, keep in mind, we hadn't worked together before, but Dennis and I knew exactly what he meant. We've been touring ever since!
Daryl: I met Dennis in the bathroom at the SAM convention in Omaha in 2006. He was
practicing for his quarter-final competition in coin manipulation (which he lost to Shawn Farquar in the Semi's. Pure robbery). I was washing my hands and face and when I looked up in the mirror he caught my eye and we've been friends ever since. And Louie I met at a Truck stop just outside Parker Strip, Arizona and we were both performing there. I just loved his act and thought you know, this guy has class and balls and I gotta get me some of that, you know? So when this opportunity came up, after we met Steve, Geoff and Trey in Buffalo a few years back, I just jumped on it. Being on stage with these guys? Like going to a really expensive school. You know the kind with fancy jackets and nice walls and stuff? Those house lights go down and all I hear is the home room tardy bell ringing in my ears, and then it’s on!
Amrita: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Dennis: Yes, I do.
Louie: I don't think there is anything wrong with having a nice cold beer before every show! It loosens me up, and so the audience is more relaxed, and we're all primed to have a good time!
Amrita: If you could affect one thing about the state of magic in the world today, what would it be?
Daryl: There should be more of it. People send their kids to piano lessons and ballet classes all the time, but no one ever invests in a young magician. How can we thrive without the children?
Dennis: This is a good question, Amrita. Baba Ram Dass says, “Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we're so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.” So, probably being really good at your craft, and just loving magic for all it's worth.