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The Spencers help to break Holmes illusion

My mom scored six tickets to the Spencer's Theatre of Illusion, to be performing at the Historic Holmes Theater on Friday the 13th.

I found out after school on that same Friday that I would be going. No questions asked. My memory raced back to the last show I saw there, which was the Fargo Symphony Orchestra for which I remember sitting painfully still.

I don't consider myself very "cultured" in that I don't see a lot of shows, and was a little unsure as to what is considered couth behavior among the social elite. I think I have decent enough manners, and it's not as though I don't know how to act around other people, but still, this was the Holmes Theatre crowd, and I had a lot of questions regarding what I should or should not do.

Is it polite to clap after each act, just at the intermission and after the finale, or is clapping prohibited altogether? Do I accept wine when it's offered to me, even though I'm underage, and eat the caviar, though I personally think it's disgusting? Should I bow when the King enters?

To my relief, it wasn't like that at all. The atmosphere of this event was much more relaxed and informal than I had expected, which made the experience better from the start. Instead of wine, I drank a Sprite, and rather than gagging on fish eggs (or other such sophisticated fare), I had an enormous box of Red Hots.

And instead of an orchestra doing the pre-show entertaining like I had expected, loud techno music warmed up the audience. The distinctive odor of machine-made fog brought back memories of school dances.

To top it off, the show was amazing! It has been my experience that there are no "competent" magicians, only great magicians and terrible ones. And the Spencers, I am glad to report, are excellent. Every act seemed to defy physics and left me asking the question: "How'd they do that!?"

The opening act, for example, which featured the Spencer wife being split in half (by her husband, of all people), I simply couldn't explain. It's oddly discomforting to witness something that defies the established laws of physics, and my mind was definitely groping for answers. But there were none to be found.

My eyes were deceiving me; that was the worst part. Even the guy I was sitting next to who tried to enlighten to me as to how each trick worked after it was performed wasn't able to lessen my utter incredulity; as much as I would have liked for his explanations to be viable, they were improbable at best.

Granted, my extreme gullibility makes me a magician's dream. I have believed everything I have ever been told, and hope that you won't use that knowledge to take advantage of me someday. However, I don't think I was the only one who left the Holmes Theatre on Friday night in a state of defeated puzzlement.

I could see it on the peoples' faces in the lobby after the show.

Towards the beginning of the performance, Mr. Spencer was careful to explain to the audience the difference between "illusion" and "reality." He held up a copy of the Becker County Record (I really wish it was the Detroit Lakes Tribune he had picked, but that's life), and paged through it, saying, "this is reality."

Next he "ripped" the paper into shreds in front of our very eyes, after paging through it and pointing out several instances of "reality," including a spring clearance ad for Mills Fleet Farm (reality if I've ever seen it) and a promotional ad for a "certain magician in town."

He was definitely ripping the paper -- I could clearly hear it tear -- and when he opened the Record up and it was whole again, I carefully checked his sleeves. Nope, he was wearing a T-shirt.

I then scrutinized the curtain to his back, which hung still and silent, as if to say "don't look at me, I had nothing to do with this." I decided that my ears must have been deceiving me. It was easier to believe that my very senses were in a state of rebellion than that the Spencers were simply performing an illusion, like they had said. That is the power of magic.

I had a mistaken illusion before Friday night that events at the Historic Holmes Theater are stuffy and pretentious by nature. The reality is that the house can really rock when the right show is in town.

Nathan Kitzmann is a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School.