Lies? Truth? It’s all up for grabs in A Gentleman & A Liar.
Brian Curry and I have been performing our show, “The Magic Duel,” at The Mayflower Hotel for over five years. During the lead up to the 2016 elections, there was a lot to joke about. We kept improving and polishing the show, adding more and more political humor. Then suddenly the election was over.
Overnight, “the truth” meant something radically different. Facts were purported to have “alternatives.” The few Bernie and Hillary jokes left the show and getting laughs at “45’s” expense became a driving force in developing new material.
But we couldn’t shake the fact that we were now living in a society filled with deceit on a scale we could never have imagined.
As career professional liars, this continued to grate on our nerves. We needed to explore this sudden explosion in deception; the parts that made us laugh and those that made us cringe.
[adsanity_rotating align=”aligncenter” time=”10″ group_id=”1455″ /]
We came to two decisions. First we would create a new show that examined lying from as many directions as possible – from the role it plays in our work as a magician and a mentalist to how it can be used to build and retain a political base. Though lying is universal, it is also a spectrum from kind or harmless all the way to pure evil.
Second, we decided we would make A Gentleman & A Liar a close-up show, with the audience as close as possible and limited in size to maximize intimacy and interaction. We wanted any lying we did in this show to be right to our audiences’ faces. If you think you can tell when someone is lying to you; this show is your chance to test that out.
We have learned a lot about lying; why people do it, how it works, why people believe liars, and what kind of harm it does to individuals and society. I’d be lying if I told you we had it all figured out and now we had this great Ted Talk to explain it to you. Lying can be awkward, uncomfortable and even painful. It can also be funny and thought provoking. We promise that we will share with you what we can, and that we will be gentlemen in doing so.
Mark Phillips’ first magic trick was vanishing a cigarette. Fortunately, eight-year-olds with cigarettes were not uncommon in 1960’s Kentucky. Deception quickly became a way of life for Mark. He paid for college by performing regularly at the Phoenix Playboy Club, which also made show biz look pretty darn appealing. Mark has won the National Theater’s “Star of Magic Award;” and his appearance at the Kennedy Center prompted the Washington Post to write, “Mark Phillips has skill to burn.”
His show, “The Magic Duel,” with Brian Curry at Washington’s Mayflower hotel, holds 5 star ratings on TripAdvisor and Yelp which ranks it #1 for shows and concerts in DC.