Magicians Francis Menotti and David London are more interested in taking audiences on a philosophical journey into the mind than they are in sawing a person in half onstage.
“Both Francis and I utilize our magic to reflect on reality and evoke thoughts in people’s minds,” said London, speaking from his home in Baltimore.
They will bring their magic for the brain show, Cerebral Sorcery, to Firehouse Theater on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6 and 7.
The two met early in their careers at The Phoenix Gathering magic conference in 2000.
“It was a conference for magicians to explore the deeper sides of their magic,” London said. “We talked about character development and theatrical components. It focused on the art form of storytelling through magic.”
The two became friends and decided to team up to create Cerebral Sorcery, a parlor-style show suited for an intimate theater. The show premiered at a Chicago theater in December 2001.
“There are things in this show that had their origin 15 years ago but only saw the light of day a few months ago,” London said. “Tricks spend a majority of their life existing in the imagination of the creator and performer.”
The time it takes to create a new trick for a show varies.
“The bare minimum amount of time before putting the trick in the show is six months,” said Menotti, speaking from Los Angeles. “There is a trick in this show that I had the idea for 10 years ago. I worked on it on and off for eight or nine years and it’s only now making it into performance.”
Both magicians, now in their 30s, learned their first tricks at an early age. London, a Maryland native, started doing magic when he was 7 years old.
“I learned as many tricks as possible,” he said. “In my teens I started exploring other possibilities and incorporated storytelling. By my late teens I was immersed in the magic community.”
During his career he has created six original theatrical magic productions, including “Magic Outside The Box,” “Adventure to the Imagi Nation” and “Art of Dreams.” He regularly presents his shows and workshops at theaters, museums, galleries and festivals across the country.
Connecticut native Menotti, now living in Philadelphia, started performing magic after getting a Fisher-Price magic set when he was 5 years old. He began his professional career after graduating from Penn State where he started a magic club.
“That was 17 years ago and I haven’t looked back,” he said.
Menotti, a frequent performer at the Hollywood Magic Castle, successfully fooled magicians Penn & Teller on their television show, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” and most recently consulted for the magical card work on the 2016 remake of the film “The Magnificent Seven.”
While they are intrigued with the philosophical side of magic, their show is all about the entertainment value.
“It’s whimsical,” Menotti said of the 90-minute show. “We try our best not to be pedantic or pretentious with our thinking behind the tricks. It’s the thinking behind it that drives us but performing is where we make it fun.”
“The real trick,” London adds, “is hiding all your thinking and bringing entertainment and astonishment.”
Because their magic tends to be subtler than most magic shows, they feel it’s better suited to people over the age of 16.
“Our magic is the kind of thing a 5- or 6-year-old would watch and not appreciate,” Menotti said. “But adults with a jaded sense of the world need magic to shake up their realities.”
Contact Joan Tupponce at firstname.lastname@example.org.