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The Pandora Experiment 

Above all, Christian Cagigal's new magic show reveals imagination

Wednesday, Jun 20 2007
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For Christian Cagigal's newest magic show, the audience is not so much a subject of clinical study, but an object of affection. Cagigal stands on a living room rug counting audience members with his stage manager before stepping off, and moments later re-emerges transformed to guide us through "the experiment." Cagigal uses antique objects that are well-worn, simple and accessible; two music boxes with haunting chimes, small chests with the treasures of a child inside. A doll of porcelain and papier-mâché gazes soulfully throughout and feels as real as any of us. His performance takes the audience beyond just the willing suspension of disbelief and into another place in time where magic is not the work of an illusionist or performer but exists in creaky wooden boxes found in a grandparent's attic. The set and lighting underscore Cagigal's creation to create an ethereal beauty. His staging and sensitivity as he plays with his audience conveys a level of safety and trust so as to not feel duped, but included in the magic. What does The Pandora Experiment reveal? Above all else: imagination.

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Nara Dahlbacka

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