Joseph Garcia was the last of four magicians to take the stage in a performance put on by the Western Washington Society of Magicians.
“Everyone has been doing card tricks,” Garcia said. “I don’t do tricks, I do mysteries.”
Garcia, a retired Western professor of adult education, grant writing and American Sign Language, had the audience choose an orange from a collection of four and a card from a full deck.
Seated on couches in the Edens Hall North student lounge, the audience of about three dozen students chose the pieces for the elaborate puzzle in front of them.
Margarita Aguado, Western freshman and the audience member who chose the playing card, ripped it up, keeping one piece in her hand.
Garcia gave the remaining pieces which were wrapped in a red handkerchief to another audience member, who then threw them at the orange.
The pieces disappeared in midair and, according to Garcia, reassembled themselves inside of the orange selected by yet another audience member.
Miranda Aiken, an environmental science senior and audience member, cut open the orange to reveal a card missing the exact piece that was still sitting in Aguado’s hand.
“I tried to figure out how it would work, but at some point you just have to be really impressed that a card was in an orange,” Aiken said.
The orange was whole and didn’t have any precuts, Aiken said
“A good magic trick is something that is done that is impossible,” Garcia said. “Everything I do has got to be impossible, or I don’t do it.”
Garcia, a mentor of the WWSM, was preceded in the performance by sophomore Bryan Sevener, senior Kamran Hughes and Western marketing senior and WWSM president Dominick Lucero.
Garcia learned magic when he was 17 years old and in the army.
When all the other soldiers would go off drinking, Garcia would pull the blankets over his head with his balls, coins and cards and practice in his bunk, he said.
“To have that isolation and seclusion for a long period of time allows you to put in the hours that are required to develop your skills,” Garcia said.
Throughout his 48 years of experience as a magician, magic has helped Garcia to connect with people around the world as he has traveled.
“Magic transcends language barriers,” Garcia said.
When he traveled to places such as France, Italy and Austria he didn’t need language. Magic became a language of its own for him he said.
“I’m trying to pass on stuff to the next generation of magicians,” Garcia said. “Everything in magic is presentation. So, I’ve been working with them on developing their ability to present, capture the audience and have a good time.”
Hughes, the vice president for the WWSM, performed second and had audience members give him two random four-digit numbers, which he multiplied on a calculator.
Hughes had predicted the calculated number. He then did his signature trick, he said, pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket with the exact number written down before the show had started.
“[Garcia] tells us about being animated, creating a good story and really engaging with your audience,” Hughes said.
Aguado was skeptical at the beginning of the show. Her brother is into magic and she has been to many performances before.
“I actually thought it was going to be very amateur,” she said. “But some of them I was just like ‘Whoa, how did they do that?’ Like the orange one, I have no idea how they did that at all.”
While performances like these will not be regular occurrences, Hughes said he and the other magicians perform for friends and strangers all the time and will sometimes perform at the Underground Coffeehouse open mic nights.