Article 3: Under The Influence
Under The Influence
Kevin McGroarty - Round Table Member Since 2018
Obviously, we’ve been lucky in Chicago to have many strong performing voices in magic. From Don Alan to Matt Schulien and Bill Weimer, to Eugene Burger and Tony Andruzzi and more, there is a huge range of personas and styles to be influenced by. But Chicago has plenty of gold to be mined in other areas too.
I’ve been told that Chicago produces more original works of theater than any other city. When I first started really studying magic and performing it, I was influenced by the monologist David Kodeski. He told great stories by discovering old diaries and relating their stories while tying them to his own. He had a way of elevating the mundane. His stories were often funny but always warm and thoughtful.
Kodeski was part of the Neo-Futurists, a theater troupe that also was an influence on me. (They’re still around, by the way.) Actors in the Neo-Futurist company were also the playwrights of their own work. Plays were two minutes or less and could be personal, political, absurd, evocative — any or all of those, but the performers always had to be themselves (not a character). Their format of very short plays made the writer-performers pare things down to the barest bones. I liked their economy and variety. It’s interesting to see how to get to the core of an idea and how many ways it can be expressed.
I could name other influences, but these two have stayed with me the longest — I think because both are personal, with a lack of artifice. (Ironic for magic?)