Under a curly mop of brown hair, Siegfried Tieber has large, expressive eyes, pools of earnestness and honesty. His smile is broad, revealing large white teeth. The overall impression he gives during his “See/Saw: An Immersion into a Magician’s Mind” is one of a humorous, disarmingly charming new friend with a pack of cards.
Dressed in a medium-gray three-pieced suit, he is careful to roll up his sleeves. His lanky frame dominate the room without being oppressive. He is tall, but you’ll want to watch his long fingers as he practices his magic. He could doubtlessly be a good card shark, but he knows we know and we know he knows that he is doing is for our entertainment and not money.
Tieber’s performance of close-up magic is a treat for people who love intimate shows. Born and raised in Ecuador, he made his first international splash in Bogota, Colombia in 2011. He went on to headline the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015. But for us in the US, his most spectacular achievement is winning an award on the “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” TV series because he did indeed fool them.
In the cozy Civic Center Studios, you’ll be in a small room up a flight of stairs lit by faux candles. The dress code was cocktail attire, but in practice it was basic black, so maybe a cocktail party at a funeral? The entrance is next to the subterranean speakeasy, Birds & Bees. You’ll enter at the back of the building in the middle of a pay parking lot. Once the cast is ready, you’ll file down a long corridor and then climb up a faux candlelit stairway.
Once in the performance space, an office that once belonged to the criminal defense attorney for Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen (Max Soloman), you’ll find on one side of the room a black table with 25 chairs. On the other side, the mini bar where you can purchase beer, wine or cocktails from a menu. On two sides of the room, there are displays on pedestals. The decor is brick and steel, but no one will be getting the fifth degree under hot lights. Angie Lister designed the set and John
Armstrong is listed as the artistic director. This Atlas Obscura production really sets you in the mood before the show begins. Still photography is allowed. Flash photography and video are not.
After the performance, you can talk with Tieber about the significance of each, the one with his Fool Us Award being the most obvious. Before we left, he was telling us about how what he does differs from the infamous Uri Geller.
Magic, particularly closeup magic is, according to Tieber, an intellectual art. Th
ere’s a bit of psychology mixed in with the slight of hand. And Tieber is smooth, but not smarmy, and speaking in accented English, he carefully enunciates each word and speaks with deliberation.
“See/Saw” continues its run Thursdays-Sundays until 8 October 2017. Tickets available through Eventbrite.com. This show has been extended until 29 October 2017.
Civic Center Studios
207 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012