To hear David Morey tell it, he became a magician after introducing himself as a corporate strategist to his seat companion during a seven-hour trip from New York to Paris. “I’m a corporate magician,” his seatmate, Bill Mertz, replied in a cheery voice, and during the following seven hours Morey renewed his childhood fascination with magic.
I know, I know. When you hear the term “corporate magician,” you think of Bernard Madoff, or maybe Andrew Fastow or some other current guest of the Federal government. But Morey’s story is different. He is the founder and CEO of DMG, Inc., author of The Underdog Advantage, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, a decathlete and Co-Chair of the Fund for Peace. He uses his powers for good, and when you walk out of his show you will have the same amount of money in your pocket as when you walk in. (Except one of you will have your initials on some of your currency.)
Morey divides his act into two parts: sleight-of-hand and mentalism. I will say that his magic is impeccable. At least I couldn’t pec it. Staged as it is in the intimate confines of the tiny Point, Morey’s act invites close scrutiny but I never saw the hidden wires or whatever. If anybody else did, he wasn’t saying. He invited an adorable little girl named Alexis to the stage with him, and thereafter joined her in tearing up some colorful napkins. Using, apparently, the power of magic, he regurgitated these shredded papers as a nice hat, and put it on her head. After that, he mined the body of a theatrical young man named Robin for coinage, with considerable success.
He began the second act by asking an audience member to select a number from one to a hundred. He thereafter opened a sealed FedEx envelope, and lo and behold, the same number was written down inside! Like you, I was thinking confederate, but he thereupon did similar tricks with virtually everyone in the audience. If they were all confederates, there was hardly anyone left in the audience to impress.
All of this proceeds at a very leisurely pace, drifting on an air mattress of reasonably bland anecdotes. Magic is easy, his soothing patter seems to imply, if you observe some simple rules and apply them diligently. This is also the message of the corporate lecturer, which Morey is also: success is easy, through clear thinking and hard work.
I don’t buy the patter, but it is easy to forgive, even in the summer warmth. It is a little unreasonable to ask a fellow to be a good magician and have a snappy patter and be the Co-Chair of the Fund for Peace. Two out of the three should be sufficient.
As he delivers one feat of mind-reading after another like Strasburg mowing down opposing batters, I reflect on one particular trick – because I played a small role in it. He asked a husky-voiced young woman named Lulu to write down the name of a childhood friend, a young guy named Bryan to write down the name of his childhood dog, and an artist named Chris to draw a picture at random. Then they all sealed their work product in separate envelopes, which Morey then gave to me. He asked me for the first envelope, and correctly divined the name of the childhood friend before opening it. He did the same for the dog. But for the picture, he called the artist to the stage, and had her draw the picture on a sketch pad while he stood, his back to hers, and attempted to draw what she was drawing. Though her sketch was a lot more readily identifiable than his, they were obviously of the same object.
But he forgot to pick up the third envelope. I slipped it into my shirt pocket, where it burned against my breast. I was no longer a mere reviewer. I was an investigative reporter.
For his finale, Morey executed the very difficult ring trick, in which six rings interlock and unlock upon command. He did it beautifully, and without flaw.
The show let out after an hour fifteen, but for me it was not over. I repaired to a local bistro, where over a cold sassafras I looked at the sealed envelope. If I opened it, would I discover the secret of magic? Or perhaps the secret of business success? Would I learn that life is not a sprint or a marathon, but a decathlon? Would I learn the secrets of The Overweight Dog Advantage?
I took another swallow of my libation – and put the envelope back in my pocket. I couldn’t handle the responsibility.
A Magical Way of Thinking
Created, produced, directed and performed by David Morey
Reviewed by Tim Treanor
Running time: 90 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?