No Vengas Solo!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Daylight savings went into effect last night here in Spain.  The tradeoff is that it will now get darker earlier.  Since neither of us has to drive home from work in the dark, I imagine it will not have a noticeable effect on us.

Yesterday, for the most part was uneventful.  I spent most of my day translating an article on the history of coin magic and Susan paid a visit to the market to pick up the makings for lunch.  A new stand has opened up at the market and it features products from Mexico.  Flour tortillas can be found everywhere in Valencia, but up until now we have not been able to find a corn tortilla.  The search is over.  Susan also picked up a can of salsa verde and along with a ripe avocado she had all the makings for fajitas.  A cold beer was the perfect match for this dish.

We ventured out a little after 5:00 and had an ice cream and then continued on to the Nespresso store to restock our supply of coffee capsules.  When we returned home we relaxed for a while and then we got dressed for our visit to the Olympia Theater to see Anthony Blake’s one man show, No vengas solo.  We met with his representative when we arrived at the theater and she provided us with our complimentary tickets.  We took our seats and waited for the show to begin.  While we were waiting Sara, Pepe’s girlfriend or ex-girlfriend – depending on the day – saw us and said hello.  The lights dimmed and the show began.

The show had a very dark theme.  It focused on fears, nightmares and death and the storyline of each effect that Blake performed revolved around one of the foregoing themes.  Blake has a commanding presence and shines as both a storyteller and a mentalist.  There is one point when an onstage spectator is asked to close his eyes and to experience a variety of sensations.  Blake, at one point, takes a good-sized needle and passes it through the flesh of the underside of the spectator’s arm.  The spectator feels nothing.  The whole event is captured by a video projection on a screen that is part of the backdrop.  Although the spectator does not react, the young man seated in the row in front of us goes into a dead faint.  It took about five minutes to revive him and he had to be helped out of his seat and out of the theater.

At the very end of his show, just before the final curtain, the lights dim and Blake announces that a secret camera has been videoing audience reactions during the performance and he is going to show that video now.  What actually happens is that a distorted female face fills the screen and she emits a blood-curdling scream.  It scared the hell out of a ten-year-old boy who was sitting four or five rows in front of us.  It took his father a good two or three minutes to calm him down.

I enjoyed many aspects of the show, but, in truth, the show was too long.  It is difficult enough for a performer in any of the performing arts to hold the audiences attention for a full ninety minutes.  Sixty to seventy-five minutes seems to be the norm for one-man shows.  A ninety-minute show dedicated to mentalism is difficult to pull off because, to a certain extent, the element of surprise is missing.  There comes a point when you say to yourself I know that he is going to guess correctly even if I don’t know how he manages to do it.

After the performance we chatted a bit with Sara and said hello to Darío Piera and Jandro, two magicians whom I have known for close to fifteen years.  On our walk back home the wind had picked up and we decided to head back home and raid the refrigerator.  We snacked on a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I worked a bit more on my translation and Susan read for a while.  It was 12:30 when I shut out the lights, but not before looking under the bed to make sure that no stray spirits had accompanied us on our journey back home.

Fajitas a la Susana

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