There is a time in every artistic and scientific field when a precocious and promising young star appears. More often than not, as time goes by, the young star proves to be a meteor, blazing their ephemeral light for too a short time. Very few cultivate and nurture their spark of genius into adulthood and see the full fruition of their gifts.
In the realm of prestidigitation and sleight-of-hand artistry, such a very young practitioner of magic was a kid called Joshua Jay, who has passed the test of time, having grown into the artist true to his early vocation. Unanimously acclaimed and esteemed by his peers, Joshua is presently a successful international performer, lecturer, author, magic creator and consultant, event producer and Guinness World Record holder. He has fooled Penn & Teller and recently has appeared on Jimmy Fallon. Although still in his mid-thirties, Joshua has skillfully played his cards. From Ohio, Jay is now based in New York, and has made the world his stage.
I recently had the good fortune of catching Jay's latest show, Six Impossible Things. Whatever your notion of a magic show, this is likely something different: the audience is not expected to simply watch magic but to experience it. With only 20 guests allowed at every show, Six Impossible Things is an immersive hour-long experience, brimming with mystery, intrigue, and spellbinding magic. Directed by Luke Jermay — another well-respected magical performer in his own right — Six Impossible Things is a show with a soul. Imagine having been invited to someone's very cozy, quirky and fascinating home; a place where magical things happen right under your nose and in your very hands.
Taking his guests by the hand into the Wonderland of his own creation, Joshua has the elegance, warmth, and caring attitude of a master host. As Joshua himself says, "The interplay between magician and audience isn't only the most important part of a magic show; it's what makes magic unique in the performing arts." A seasoned performer, he comes across as an amiable and approachable gentleman, an ordinary "guy next door" who nonetheless makes extraordinary things happen. Jay's greatest gift may be the way he brings magic to people with a richness and sincerity — exemplified by this emotionally intimate and playful participatory show.
I believe that Joshua Jay is one of the true illuminati, contemporary magicians who understand and embody the lesson subtly suggested with the phrase in magician David Devant's iconic poster: "All Done By Kindness."
I'm not the only one who loved Six Impossible Things. By public demand the show has been extended a few times; the next round begins in March. If you happen to be in New York, see for yourself how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Top two images by Mathew Gilmore
Third image: Public Domain