Magician Gary Maurer is not what he seems. If one man can embody illusion and surprise, then Maurer fits the bill. Gary and his wife Kim, live in a pleasantly all-American house on a cul de sac in a planned community in Bluffton. Teenage kids toss a football around, lawns are green, and seasonal knick knacks decorate porches. The only hint that the Maurer’s house may be different is that cars are parked in the driveway, instead of the garage. As, yes, but presto-change-o, open the garage door and you step into an entirely different world. The room is stacked floor to ceiling with magic props and ingredients for illusions of all shapes and sizes. From top hats to swords meant to turn a box filled with a beautiful lady into a living pincushion, to everything in between. The only thing you won’t find in this garage are the English Angora rabbits which are part of the show. They are treasured family pets and have their own enclosure where they live and happily produce “the best lawn fertilizer you can imagine”, according to Maurer. And there you have it, high and low, familiar and strange, magical and domestic all at once — very much like Maurer’s show, Bamboozled, which is coming to ARTworks this weekend.
“Bamboozled is a cabaret-style magic show”, says Maurer. “It’s a show that combines magic, mentalism and comedy for an older crowd. Younger children can attend, but they may not understand all of the content of the show.” To be bamboozled is defined as “to be entertained, tricked, confused, or puzzled” and Maurer attempts to cover all the bases as he segues from card tricks and sleight of hand, to larger Broadway-style illusions, and audience participation segments. Dubbed South Carolina’s “Magician of the Year” in 2010, Maurer focuses on entertainment as much as illusion, interjecting comedy and banter into every routine.
As fascinating as the stage show is, the back stage story is equally as interesting. Until age 35, Gary Maurer was an ordinary teacher in Allentown, Pa. In 1986, while attending a convention he saw a presenter use magic to get his point across and thought it was something he could in the classroom to get his students’ attention.
“Well, once I got the magic bug, it didn’t stop. I joined local magic associations and attended lectures by nationally and internationally known magicians”, says Maurer.
How did his wife, Kim, react to this? She became his assistant, of course. The pair, along with their son Dustin, relocated to the Lowcountry in 2002, where Maurer has been performing regularly at Coligny Plaza, the Salty Dog, and other tourist destinations around Hilton Head.
“I’ve been looking for a chance to do a full length show like Bamboozled, though, with more sophisticated material and some of my favorite illusions,” says Maurer. “Although, we’ll also be doing a Sunday matinee family show that kids can enjoy, too.”
If you go: Bamboozled will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8. A Family Magic Show will be presented on Sunday, November 9 at 3 p.m. Performances are at ARTworks, 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort, in the Beaufort Town Center shopping plaza. Tickets are $17 each for adults and $15 for children under 12 and active duty military. Tickets can be purchased online at www.beaufortcountyarts.com or by calling: 843-379-2787.