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Vitaly turns imagination into reality

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Vitaly turns imagination into reality

Vitaly uses images from the natural world, like leaves and butterflies, throughout his performance.

Vitaly uses images from the natural world, like leaves and butterflies, throughout his performance.

Photo courtesy of

Vitaly uses images from the natural world, like leaves and butterflies, throughout his performance.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Vitaly uses images from the natural world, like leaves and butterflies, throughout his performance.

Andrea Hernandez Delgado, Staff Writer

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Illusionist Vitaly presented “An Evening of Wonders,” an experience that took the audience on a journey through his life beyond reality in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on Saturday, Oct. 6. This performance was the third event in the 2018-19 Center Stage Series.

Approximately 450 people attended Vitaly’s performance. Director of Campus Programming Paul Atkins saw Vitaly perform earlier this year and wanted to bring this event to campus.

“Every January Paul Atkins and the president of [the Performing Arts Committee] go to a convention in New York,” President of PAC Alex Schaffer (‘20) said. “There they see various little snippets of entertainment pieces that they can choose from, and if they like any of them, Paul tries to get in contact with the performers to showcase their talents for Luther’s Center Stage Series.”

By bringing a wide variety of events to campus, the Center Stage Series aims to attract every Luther student to at least one of the scheduled shows. SAC Entertainment co-chair and PAC concessions chair Claire Hess (‘19) saw Vitaly as a fun opportunity to bring another unique kind of act to campus.

“[SAC and PAC] wanted to bring in many distinct acts to Luther,” Hess said. “Vitaly was an act that brought the diversity we needed for the series.”

At the beginning of the show, Vitaly explained to the audience that magic has been a part of his life for a long time. Vitaly has been interested in magic from a young age, and many of the tricks he would experiment with involved playing cards.

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Using his scratch pad, Vitaly creates images that he then pulls off of the page during his illusion show.

As a child, he would ask his relatives to pick a card from the deck and then hide it back in the deck. Vitaly would try and guess what they had chosen. As he has grown as an illusionist, when he has any ideas for a new trick, he tries it out, like this card trick and then performs them for his audiences.

“All these ideas were once on my scratch pad,” Vitaly said. “Now I am presenting them on stage.”

For his first act, Vitaly got off stage and picked two students from the audience: Abigail Korenchan (‘19) and Tyler Conzett (‘19). Vitaly led them onto the stage and showed them a stack of pictures. Vitaly let Korenchan and Conzett choose a picture from the stack, but told them to hide the picture so he could not see it.

Vitaly then picked up his scratch pad, which was big enough for the audience to see, and pondered for about 15 seconds. After thinking, Vitaly began to draw with his brush. After Vitaly was finished, Conzett turned his picture around so the audience could see that Vitaly had drawn the picture Conzett was holding, which was a chair.

Vitaly put his brush on a fresh sheet of paper and told Korenchan to imagine herself drawing the picture she was holding. The brush suddenly started painting by itself. Once finished, it dropped into Vitaly’s hand. Korenchan showed the audience her picture, a car, which was the same picture the brush had painted by itself.

“I tried to see [how he did] everything he was doing,” attendee Erin Keller (‘22) said. “It was really cool because even after trying hard to figure out his trick, I just could not.”

Audience members observed as Vitaly did the impossible, while also taking in a screen behind Vitaly that displayed images of a tree with leaves falling from it. His use of nature throughout the show recurred as he drew leaves, flowers, and a butterfly on his scratch pad to life on the stage.

“I loved when he drew something and it became real,” attendee Emily Lehman (‘22) said. “It was hard to imagine how a simple drawing could come to life before my eyes.”

For one of his final acts, Vitaly asked the audience members to volunteer to give up their driver’s licenses. Vitally gathered about 12 licenses and chose audience member Morgan Fanning (‘20) to join him on stage. The audience watched the screen behind Vitaly that showed a close-up of the license. Fanning attentively watched Vitaly as he held the license and began to rub it. She saw the picture on the license had disappeared.

Fanning verified that the picture was gone to the audience by looking and feeling the license. Vitaly then asked a member from the audience to pick a celebrity who had died within the last ten years. The audience member picked Michael Jackson.

Vitaly rubbed the blank ID again and suddenly, Michael Jackson appeared on the license with his eyes closed. Vitaly brought the ID close to the camera so the audience could watch what happened next. Suddenly, Jackson opened his eyes and blinked. The audience gasped and clapped as Jackson stared at them.

At the end of the performance, Vitaly and the audience heard a phone ringing. Vitaly took out his scratchpad one last time and drew a cellphone. He grabbed the drawing, which came to life as a real cell phone. He answered it and told the audience he had to leave because the call was important. The lights went dark and he disappeared backstage. The audience gave Vitaly a standing ovation.

The next Center Stage Series event is FRANKENSTEIN on Friday, Oct. 19 in the CFL.

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