- Vitaly Beckman's Sensation of Magic, Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at Presentation House Theatre at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $24, visit www.phtheatre.org.
ACCORDING to Vitaly Beckman, Albert Einstein put it best when he said, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science."
The 30-year-old Burnaby-based magician and illusionist often refers to the quote when encouraging people to take in one of his performances.
"I really think if magic is performed well, it can be the most beautiful thing you can experience," he says.
Originally from Belarus, Beckman first started dabbling in magic while in high school. Passionate about the arts, everything from painting and music, to martial arts, at age 14, he watched a David Copperfield special on television that changed his life forever.
"He did a lot of grand-scale magic, making airplanes disappear, trains disappear, but he also did something very small with two rubber bands," Beckman recalls.
Fascinated by the trick, the then-teenager spent days trying to figure out how the master magician executed it. Unable to copy Copperfield directly, Beckman decided to take a different approach, instead designing his own version of the feat, which proved successful. To their delight, he performed it for his friends and family.
"I enjoyed performing and I wanted to show more so I started to come up, this time, with my own ideas and my own ways to accomplish them and basically this is how I've worked to this day," he says. "I come up with the illusions and the feats that I perform in the show and I come up with methods to accomplish them and everything I do comes from my own imagination."
Beckman's passion for magic is about more than the mechanics of each trick; rather he's fascinated by the artistic elements. Magic encompasses many performing arts, for example, theatre and music, and in his case even painting. Popular tricks in his act include: people disappearing from photographs and appearing in others; his ability to read a newspaper from 50 feet away; and, related to the spirit of Vincent van Gogh, a paintbrush that paints on its own.
"All of the magic is very unique and different from what other people do," says Beckman. "Everything is, for me, something I wanted to accomplish, like an impossible dream."
An additional draw to the craft is being able to interact with audiences.
"A painting can just hang on the wall and kind of have a life of its own, but a performing art is only alive during a performance," says Beckman. "It is very satisfying to share my creations and visions with an audience in a live show. The fact that every show the audience is always different and unique, I never know what to expect. It's a lot of fun to see what's going to happen. Usually the interaction involves a lot of fun (and) laughter, so it's really like inviting a lot of guests to my house."
North Shore residents are invited to see Beckman in action when he wraps a Lower Mainland tour with a two-night stop, Sensation of Magic, in North Vancouver at Presentation House Theatre May 18 and 19.
Audiences will be in for a wild ride.
"I will make drawings come out of paper, I will make objects levitate," he says.
As part of a premiere grand stunt, at the May 18 show, people will disappear from their own photographs. To that end, community members are encouraged to bring personal photographs, not ones of sentimental value, to be part of the performance.
"They might be forever altered," he says.
Those in attendance won't be disappointed.
"Magic, it uplifts your spirit and it makes you believe that anything is possible," says Beckman. "It can be really inspiring."