I’m sure I’ve said this a hundred times by now but I am continually blown away by how often people surpass my expectations of kindness. I spent most of yesterday in Pigeon Forge, TN thanks to Helen and her mom Pat’s connections to the Magic Beyond Belief show and Terry Evanswood. (Also…no such thing as the internet there, sorry for the delay on this post.)
But if I’m going to be honest (and that’s kind of what I strive for) when I spoke on the phone with Jay, one of the Magic Beyond Belief honchos, earlier in the week I started to get concerned that this was going to be yet another dead-end. Over the phone the situation didn’t sound super promising. I didn’t get the feeling that they were very excited to help out (not that I could fault anyone for a lack of excitement, like I said, it’s a complete surprise every time anyone offers to help out) over at the show and worse it didn’t look like I was going to have the opportunity to film ANY of it.
(Well, worse for you anyway…I still would have had the chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do but you guys wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see an amtrekker in action.)
Even after traveling out to the strange, strange town of Pigeon Forge and showing up at the Magic Beyond Belief Theater it looked like I was only going to get to cross #24 off the list by sitting in the crowd and holding a bucket. (Not that I would have turned that opportunity down, if it crosses something off the list then I’m a happy camper!)
But once Pat decided to join me for the show they had to change my seat so we could sit together and suddenly the bucket wasn’t viable.
“It’s okay though, we’re working on something else.” Jay assured me. “You’ll probably get to go up on stage and jiggle some swords…make sure they’re real.”
“Awesome!” I thought. That’s pretty much exactly what I was hoping for.
“And I’ll talk to Terry about filming.”
Ah, things were looking up. (As they have a habit of doing.)
Finally Pat and I took our seats and Jay loosely explained what was going to happen. “The female assistant will ask for two volunteers from the crowd and you’ll be in this seat right here. She’ll pick you, and you can go up and do your thing and I’ll take the camera so I can film it.”
Then, like a typical magician, he disappeared.
Which left me with these questions: Am I supposed to pretend I REALLY want to be on stage when she asks for volunteers? Is she just going to come grab me? When is this going to happen? Should I have the camera rolling already?
So naturally I sat in my seat so busy being anxious that I can’t even remember most of what happened in the first part of the show.
About a third of the way through Jay reappeared. Poof. “Okay, give me your camera.” Out of the corner of my eye I see Terry walking out onto the stage.
“It’s all set, just push this button right here and point it at whatever you want to shoot.” I don’t see an assistant and Terry has started talking about how being a magician is a dream come true for him, telling a story about his childhood and how important it is to follow your dreams. Then he mentions Pat and some guy whose dream he wants to make come true. (What a coincidence, right? I was with a lady named Pat too.)
Terry came down from the stage continuing to tell my story before stopping and handing me the mic and having me fill in the details myself to the audience of about 500. After that he took the mic back and explained what was going on…which was nice because at this point I still had no idea. As it turned out I wasn’t so much going to be a volunteer as the assistant for one whole illusion!
We went up on stage and I was given a shiny red vest to look more assistant worthy and Terry started to, ever so briefly, walk me through what I needed to do.
Here’s a quick side note: I’ve done a lot of stupid things on my trip where I absolutely should have been nervous. As it turns out I have almost no fear when it comes to doing something that may potentially kill me and I’m completely comfortable talking to myself into a camera surrounded by people (which admittedly took me a little while to get used to), I have very few reservations when it comes to public speaking…but now I know my Achilles heel. I seem to get VERY nervous when I’m holding swords and standing in front of five hundred people with NO idea what I’m supposed to be doing next.
As the illusion progressed Terry would occasionally whisper commands in my direction to help walk me through what I needed to be doing, when I needed to be stabbing poor little girls folded up into tiny boxes or when I needed to strike the “superstar” pose.
In a word: Incredible. If I get two words I would also add, AMAZING! And with four I’d say, Thank you.
Once my bit was over and I could just sit and watch the show without worrying about what my place in the excitement was I even got to be amazed on a whole new level. Terry is really good! His slight of hand presentation left me WISHING I were that cool. If nothing else, you should check out his website.
The experience was SO much more than I could have asked for and not only did I get to help make some magic I also got to be blown away one more time by how great people can be.
The video will be up Wednesday at 6pm Pacific! Don’t miss it.
If you’re looking for a way to help out I know where there’s a button you could click.
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