The Donald W. Nixon Centre for Performing and Visual Arts of Newnan brought a bit of magic to the county with a performance by mentalist and magician, Josh Lozoff.
The actor-turned-performer spent 14 years on the screen rather than on the stage, with several memorable roles including that of Gino Tortelli in the hit show “Cheers” and a brief part as Logan in the major motion picture, “Clueless.”
Lozoff claims a chance encounter with a magician performing on the streets led him to his current career performing a combination of magic, mental feats and a hint of comedy.
On stage at the Centre, Lozoff introduced several illusions with anecdotes for the considerable Newnan crowd.
“One of the greatest magicians of all time was John Nevil Maskelyne,” Lozoff said of his early inspiration. “I studied all of his magic and studied the history of Maskelyne.”
The magician then performed a classic maneuver memorable to many — the disappearing handkerchief.
Lozoff noted that Maskelyne, toward the end of his career, finally revealed the secret to the “trick” by bringing to the stage an audience member and teaching the volunteer the bit. Lozoff then chose a young member of the local group of viewers.
The magician walked the youth, who reported his name as Collin, through the trick, which included two handkerchiefs and a hollowed-out faux egg.
Collin completed the performance and was rewarded with applause from the audience. As the child stepped off the stage, Lozoff continued his explanation of the old Maskelyne illusion.
“Some people say that in his final show, Maskelyne did something very unusual,” Lozoff said. “He removed the hole from the hollowed egg.”
The audience appeared to pay even closer attention to the magician, and waited for this new revelation of the classic trick.
Rather than explain, however, Lozoff reached for a nearby glass tumbler and made a motion to crack the faux egg.
Audience members were heard to collectively gasp as a fresh egg yolk dropped into the glass.
The performance continued with several audience members called to participate in illusions that were both awe-inspiring and entertaining.
Lozoff’s finale included a trick rooted in mathematics — or, perhaps, it too was merely an illusion. The magician requested that each summoned audience participant jot down a four-digit number on a specified page in a small, spiral-bound notebook. Lozoff then handed the pad to a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” and asked the man to add all of the recorded numbers together to create one large sum.
In what seemed an afterthought, Lozoff said, “I nearly forgot to tell you the significance of the number, it just occurred to me what it might be.”
The magician gestured to a man seated in the center of the front row. The man had been asked near the start of the performance to hold a standard dictionary in order to “assist” throughout the show.
Lozoff asked the man to turn to the page in the dictionary which coincided with the first three digits of the large number, now written on a large whiteboard for all to see. He then requested the assistant to locate the word found on the page which was the last three digits of the larger sum. This number began with a zero and prompted the guest to find “012,” or, the twelfth definition on the page.
“Can you read the word and definition aloud to the audience please,” Lozoff asked.
The man hesitated for just a second before complying with the request.
“Magic,” he said. “Magic is defined as....”