New England Illusionist brings real magic to Camden Shakespeare Festival's "The Tempest"

Posted:  Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 6:15am
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CAMDEN — New England magician Evan Northrup is collaborating with the Camden Shakespeare Festival on its production The Tempest, which will be presented in the Camden Library Amphitheatre this July. The performances are presented in conjunction with the Camden Public Library.

The Tempest is the story of Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan who is stranded on an island with his daughter. Prospero teaches himself magic and then shipwrecks his enemies on the island. The Sorcerer then uses his powers in remarkable ways, leading to an unexpected conclusion.

"It is rare for a production of The Tempest to use actual magic, even though it largely about magic," says director Stephen Legawiec in a news release. "Evan is not only an accomplished magician, but a designer of magical effects. We are lucky to have him and we have been creating the magic for this show for months."

Evan Northrup adds, "The challenge for including performance magic in a dramatic production is to capture the moment of astonishment without affecting the plot, staging, and nuance of the piece."

"Prospero is a sorcerer, not a stage magician," says Legawiec. So the effects we are creating are ones befitting a character that is somewhat like Merlin. For example, characters will vanish, materialize out of nothing, and change into giant birds. However, Evan has designed one "Parlor Trick" involving a miniature palace that Prospero performs for his daughter because we thought that would be fun.

This year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. This version of The Tempest will be a special addition to the yearlong Shakespeare celebrations that are going on all over the world in 2016.

The Tempest opens July 26 in the Camden Amphitheater for nine performances only and tickets go on sale in mid June. For more information go to camdenshakespeare.org

Magician Evan Northrup (right) demonstrates a magical effect that he designed for the Tempest as director Stephen Legawiec (left) looks on.