Review: Follow the RED THREAD to be Amazed and Dazzled by Master Magician Siegfried Tieber
I have been following magician Siegfried Tieber for several years, marveling at his mind-boggling sleight of hand magic and illusions. His latest show, RED THREAD presented by Atlas Obscura, offers a theatrical exploration of the concepts of chance and chaos, with Siegfried guiding participants through an unlikely journey during which he manages to blur the line between the improbable and the impossible. And afterwards. I found myself wondering if seemingly random decisions made are really our own, made of our own free will, or if they are somehow predetermined.
In describing the concept behind the RED THREAD name and experience, Siegfried explains, "Every time we flip a coin, we create two possible outcomes, as simple as deciding which way to go when you reach a fork in the road, if you will. Rolling a die opens 6 doors; shuffling a deck of cards creates more possibilities than the human mind can imagine with every outcome being the starting point of further possibilities. It doesn't take long before this starts to look like a labyrinth: some paths converge, some run parallel to each other, some are dead ends. Like the Greek mythological princess, Ariadne-who gave Theseus a thread when he entered the labyrinth so he could find his way back to her, my hope is to take the audience with me and guide them through this journey."
And I can honestly tell you from my viewpoint sitting in the center of the front row, perhaps no more than two feet away from him, I thought I saw a Rubik's Cube held in his hand literally change into perfect sides of color as he just shook it. Mind you, just a few minutes before, he had moved the cube in the traditional manner while speaking with the audience to achieve the same goal. So how in the world could he do that again just by shaking the cube? I have no idea.
Later I was happy to be asked to take one of the 5 books Siegfried held in his hands. All five f us were asked to flip through the books to authenticate each was just a regular book, which I confirmed mine was. But then I was asked to randomly flip through it and randomly stop on one page. I did and answered I had stopped on page 126. Then I was asked to close the book and hold it in my lap until asked about it in a few minutes.
After watching in amazement as he performed feats of disbelief with others, I was asked to please flip through my book again to be sure my page was still there. Of course, it was. Then I was asked to close the book, open it again and look for the page. To my total mystification, that page had been ripped out and was no longer in the book. Then asked to stand up in front of the small audience seated in a half circle around the performance area, Siegfried reached for a wine glass with a ball of red yarn in it which had been prominently displayed during the entire evening. In fact, that ball of yarn was at the end of the RED THREAD that led audience members to that space.
Asked to remove that ball of yarn from the glass, I began to unravel it. I truly believe my mouth fell to the floor when I got to the middle of it and the exact page 126 which had been ripped out of my book was folded up inside. How could that be if I randomly selected the page wo which I had first flipped? Was it preordained that I would select that page? How could this have possibly happened? Stunned I was, just stunned. Of course, I really didn't want to know how it happened, but then again, I really did! But that is the wonder of Siegfried Tieber's sleight of hand magic. The fun is being amazed and trying to understand what you have seen, not being told how it was accomplished.
There were many other feats of close-up magic performed during RED THREAD, some with playing cards as well as other everyday objects. But I will leave those still a mystery and let you see them for yourself when you attend the show. Co-written by Jared Kopf, with Jon Armstrong, an award-winning magician/sleight of hand expert, on board as the show's artistic director, there will be six shows to choose from each week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 7:00pm, plus a late show on Saturdays at 10:30pm and a matinee on Sundays at 4:00pm through November 10, 2019, at Pskaufman Gallery at 8th Street & Werdin Place, in downtown Los Angeles, CA 90014 (down the alley), which is the subterranean art gallery and event space of award-winning shoe designer and creative visionary Paul Kaufman.
Each RED THREAD show can accommodate up to 34 guests, offering a unique 90-minute adventure from the moment the intimate audience gathers. Tickets are $74.00; recommended for ages 21+. For more information on these magical experiences, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/experiences/red-thread.
Photo credit: Brooke Opie