Andrew Pinard Brings Magic, Science, and History to Portsmouth
Andrew Pinard makes the impossible possible. This 49-year-old magician keeps people amazed, involved, laughing, and somehow manages to slip in some history.
In what has become a holiday tradition, Pinard will explore magic, science, perception, and deception through sleights of hand, nefarious con games, and cognitive dissonance during five performances of "Discovering Magic," Friday to Sunday, Dec. 28 to 30 at the Players' Ring in Portsmouth.
"I am a kind of tour guide of the impossible and the absurd," said Pinard, who has been described as actor, conjurer, puppeteer and storyteller.
When Pinard performs, he also makes sure the audience is fully involved, partly because he doesn't believe there is magic without the audience.
"I can't perform magic until I experience it through someone else's eyes. The magic doesn't exist until I have an audience," he said. "The audience is engaged in everything whether they get up from their seat or not."
And the audience, watching Pinard interact with fellow audience members is actually part of the show.
"The best part is watching him engage with the audience," said Gina Bowker, Pinard's stage manager at the Players' Ring who also does lights and sound for him. "You are not going to just sit and watch a magic show."
A former theater teacher, Pinard has been doing his magic shows ever since he graduated from Plymouth State with a bachelor's in music and a minor in theater.
"I started magic and within two years had turned full time," he said. "I never looked back."
But calling it a magic show "doesn't quite tell the story," according to Bowker, coordinator at Main Street Arts in Newfields. "Some of his acts you would think of as traditional magician things but he tells a story with everything he does that is brilliant and interesting, and he is very funny."
Agreed Joi Smith, Players' Ring board member, "He's the quintessential performer. He has impeccable comic timing."
In addition to his holiday show in Portsmouth, Pinard performs "Discovering Magic" monthly at the Hatbox Theater in Concord, which he founded.
One of Pinard's acts, called the Three Shell Game, involves hiding a pea inside handmade wooden walnut shells and letting the audience guess where the pea is hidden. Pinard has the shells handmade by a New Hampshire craftsman and sells these shells to magicians around the world.
Although "Discovering Magic" is not geared to children, it is appropriate and fun for kids over 8 or 10. As Pinard noted, magic requires developmental logic that might not work for younger children.
"Unlike theater where you can passively sit and let the show roll over you, people at the magic show are asked to question reality and ask themselves what is in front of me? They have to question their own perception and capability of knowing what reality is."
Pinard's company, "Absolutely Magic" has performed magic shows around the world for more than 26 years. Each year he does a slightly different show at the Player's Rig to appeal to differences audiences.
"I thank my audience near the end of the show because really when people come to see magic it's not just about buying a ticket, it's about engaging.
Photo Credit: Jemi Broussard