As we enter the theater 15 minutes prior to showtime, the Magician is sitting on stage with her eyes closed. Then the show begins, with magic tricks that we have to imagine, but are almost more thrilling because of it. Between the tricks the Magician tells her story, and we learn that it's one of love and loss - the greatest joy and the greatest tragedy. She shares the stages of her relationship with her girlfriend, up until the night that she's brutally beaten. It's a testament to the writing and the performance that in such a short time, we very quickly learn to know and love these characters. We believe in them and their story, so that what happens to them is incredibly moving and emotionally affecting.
|Allison Witham is the magician|
Open is playing in the Off-Leash Art Box, with the intimate black box space set up as a tiny traditional theater space with risers on one side and the performance space on the other. It's totally unrecognizable from the other shows I've seen there, and well suited to the storytelling since we are at a magic show performance. The lighting (by Tony Stoeri) and sound (by Katharine Horowitz) design and Allison's performance work together seamlessly to create the delightful imaginary magic tricks.
With the continued rise of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community and proposed changes in legislation that threaten civil rights, it's an important time to tell this very real, human, magical, beautiful story of a relationship.