By Lauren Shook
Students and members of the Stroudsburg community gathered in Abeloff Center for the Performing Arts to witness the enchanting event that was The Extreme Magic of Eric Wilzig.
This CAB sponsored event featured Wilzig, an award-winning illusionist who was previously a contestant on the popular television show “America’s Got Talent.”
The event began with a montage of upbeat music and a brief introduction for the nighttime performance.
Wilzig performed over 10 illusions with the aid of his assistant, Taylor Giampaolo. He involved volunteers from the audience for nearly every routine.
In an especially interesting routine, Wilzig made a $20 bill disappear, only to reappear inside a lemon.
Wilzig kept the audience entertained between illusions with his use of funny quips and short phrases.
The young magician made another volunteer’s promise ring disappear, claiming to make it re-appear in a candy dispenser.
“This is so awkward; we’re done,” he said in the middle of the act, feigning an error with the trick before successfully revealing and returning the volunteer’s ring back to her.
In a small interlude in Wilzig’s performances, Giampaolo performed her own magical comedic act. In a parody step-by-step magic trick led by a recorded prompt, Giampaolo seemingly misheard “bandana” for “banana.”
Despite this comedic goof, she still managed to pull off the act in the end. Which is actually way more interesting than making a bandana disappear.
In an especially shocking trick, Wilzig asked for a volunteer’s iPhone. Claiming to desire to change the time of the phone, he placed it into a bag and asked the volunteer to spin it with him.
However, he did not just twirl the phone as he said.
Instead, he smashed the phone onto a metal chair, creating a large bang and a resulting and equally large gasp from the crowd.
In an interesting turn, the volunteer’s phone was returned from a locked box that had been sitting on stage in the audience’s full view for the entire show.
The final illusion of the night was a dangerous escape act.
Two large, metal jaws hung ominously overhead as Wilzig was wrapped in a straight-jacket and explained the nature of the finale.
“It takes one minute, 22 seconds for the timer to cut the rope, causing those two jaws to come crashing together with over 1500 pounds of force,” announced Wilzig.
“If I don’t escape in time… Well, you guys use your imagination,” said Wilzig before rigging himself to the large, dangerous contraption for his final escape of the night.
It was difficult not to be completely engrossed as the red numbers on the timer quickly declined. Gasps emanated throughout the theater as they heard Wilzig mumble “It’s stuck,” while seeming to struggle to release himself from the straight-jacket.
Mere seconds before the jaws smashed together, Wilzig was able to unhook the restraints and fall to safety with a roar of applause.
Despite my best efforts to find any hint as to how Wilzig pulled off these illusions, I was impressed to come away completely mystified.
Wilzig has had featured performances at Caesar’s and Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. The magician has also performed internationally in Europe, Israel and the Caribbean.
Visit www.ExtremeMagicOfEric.com for more about the magician and to find future shows. You can follow Wilzig on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.
Email Lauren at: