Opulence, energy, family fun -- that's Le Grand David and his magic troupe
In the middle of the downtown area in this modest-size city about 20 miles from Boston stands a rather ordinary-looking movie house. What happens inside is far from ordinary.Skip to next paragraph
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For over five years the Cabot Street Cinema Theater has been bursting open each week with a resident show packing enough opulence, energy, and wholesome family fun to attract a national following. That's no small accomplishment for any company of performers, and especially not for ''amateurs.''
But this company has something special. They have - well, magic. In fact, their show is called ''Marco the Magi's Production of Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company.''
The 70-member company has received ample recognition. To mention just a few honors, Marco the Magi was named magician of the year for 1981 by Hollywood's Academy of Magical Arts. Last Easter part of the company traveled to Washington, D.C., to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. And they gave their 650th performance on May 30.
Persistent offers for Le Grand David to tour have been turned down. ''Why should we tour?'' asks Webster Bull, president of the organization (and brother of David Bull, who is Le Grand David). Since sellout audiences already come to them from other parts of the country and even the world, the difficulties involved in putting the complex production on the road hold little appeal.
And although the company is a profitmaking business, he says, the well-being of the children and the families in the organization weigh heavily in decisions.
From the moment the tassel-hatted clown escorts guests from the mouth of the welcoming dragon at the door to the last dazzling sleight of hand, the audience has been lavishly and generously entertained. Its blend of humor, warmth, and joie de vivre makes Le Grand David much more than a magic show: It offers music, comedy, and dance.
Three ''generations'' of magicians are dramatically ''unveiled'' at the beginning of the show after a parade of exotically dressed company members drifts across the elaborate stage and through the mist that wafts out into the audience. The audience soon learns, however, that the patriarchial Marco, the dashing David, and winsome 10-year-old Seth the Sensational have more enthusiasm than mystery.
According to Marco - who off-stage is Cezareo Pelaez, a professor at the local state college in Salem, Mass. - ''We've defined the characters so that they are happy, joyful, and in celebration. If it's not fun for us, how can it be fun for the audience?''
Professor Pelaez should know. He's the founder and mastermind behind the show. As a child in Cuba, he saw many of the great South American magicians. But his conception of magic is much broader and more theatrical than performing magical acts.
''What we want is the aliveness, the sense of wonder, which is the qualitative part of a magician, and that's the magical moment.
''We don't claim to have any supernatural powers,'' he asserts with the pleasant Cuban inflection that gives an additional aura of the exotic to the show. ''What we do is often called tricks.''
David Bull adds, ''There are things that Marco has insisted on. If you vanish something, you always bring it back.''
Remarks Webster Bull: ''What a magic company is is a whole host of performers of all kinds . . . dancers, singers, clowns, actors . . . . And magic becomes the vehicle, or perhaps the channel, for a theatrical experience.''