Monday, September 22, 2014

It's All in the Cards

Nate Dendy in The Tempest.
Audiences have been astounded by Nate Dendy’s fantastic illusions during his performance as Ariel in The Tempest. In particular, his Ariel has a certain affinity towards card tricks and sleight of hand. But magic isn't something that Dendy had to master for this production. He’s been practicing magic as long as he can remember and as he puts it, “It’s a very big part of who I am.” We caught up with him during the run of The Tempest:

Your talent for card tricks is a major part of the magic you showcase on stage. Do you have a particular love for cards that draws you to it?
Everyone at some point has held, seen or played with a deck of cards. So, when a magician exploits that familiarity and does impossible things with them, it can be very exciting. Cards are also very cheap for a kid who wants to start practicing tricks. My taste in card tricks have changed over the years, but every time I see a kid trying to fool their brother, friend or parent...I see my childhood again. According to my parents, I started showing interest in magic at the age of 2. I have no memory of not doing magic. It's a very big part of who I am. Funny enough, I was even born on April Fool's Day.

Are there any misconceptions about cards?
Well, many people think I use trick cards but these are perfectly ordinary playing cards rights out of the box and some of my favorite cards come from Dan & Dave Industries. If I knew how to play Gin Rummy, I would play with these same cards.

In The Tempest, your character Ariel is costumed in a vest and no sleeves. Many audience members have been confounded by this fact since you literally can’t have anything up your sleeves. What are some of the challenges and fun in performing these tricks with this in mind?
I'm so glad I have no sleeves in this show. I get quite hot running around on that stage—it's a workout! The card work I do night after night is challenging with or without sleeves. You deal with other challenges like sweat, makeup, lighting, clarity...but if it all comes together just right, I hear perplexed reactions from random audience members. It fills me with absolute joy! It's a high I get to aim for eight times a week.

As the audience arrives you have a chance to interact with them and set the atmosphere with a few tricks. Is there something you find special when you get to perform magic with a volunteer?
Every preshow is a little different because every audience member is different. It has changed from theatre to theatre for that very reason. I used to do magic from table to table at a restaurant when I was 14. You learn very quickly—for better or worse—how to surrender to the different personalities that people bring to the mix. It's exciting and I'm always grateful to the people who play along with me because it's a very brave leap for them to make. A lot of the magic in the show is precise, like a classical symphony. However, the magic in the more like a swanky jazz session. And I love jazz.

What’s one of you favorite card tricks from The Tempest?
It changes from night to night. Some nights I look forward to one card trick because I practiced a specific moment during the day and am anxious to try it out at night in front of an audience. I will have to say, I'm particularly proud of something I do in the preshow. It's my own invention and I was humbled when it got the seal of approval from the rest of the creative team and directors—including Johnny Thompson, our magic designer, and Teller. People talk about it and that's promising.

Interested in cards? Check out The Tempest’s source for cards and grab a deck of your very own. The Tempest has one week left for you to catch Nate’s amazing sleight of hand. Get your tickets now before they disappear.

No comments:

Post a Comment