Library Holds “Magical” Summer Reading Kickoff
story & photos by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Contributing WriterThe Bellingham Library summer reading program started off in a big way as hundreds of area families poured into the Bellingham High School auditorium. The draw? Peter Bouie, Magician, who titles himself “Magician for non-believers.”
Bouie offered a low-key, yet captivating performance, presented with self-effacing humor. Portraying himself as the fool, a magician who has some real problems with uncooperative magic tricks, Bouie actually delivered surprise after surprise. “How did he do that?” we asked, even as he confessed to not knowing what was going to happen. Under-promise and over-deliver is a good policy: in Bouie’s show, each trick was masterfully presented in ways that consistently caught the audience by surprise.
Bouie invited several audience members to be his “assistants.” Emily DeLuca of Bellingham was handed a small orange ball which quickly became two, three, then finally one large foam ball, emerging from Emily’s hand. Part of the fun was that Emily was even more surprised than the audience. Bouie then spoke confidentially to the young resident. “Emily, I’m going to show you how to magically get this entire audience to clap for you any time you want,” he promised. Following the magician’s direction, Emily offered a quick bow. The audience quickly picked up their cue and applauded wildly, willing participants in the fun.
Anyone who has tried to sort out a pile of coat hangers could relate to Bouie’s trick of getting tangled in multiple coat hangers. The hangers became untangled, then once more re-tangled in different ways, which was a clever variation on the common trick of locking and unlocking multiple metal rings. When Bouie pulled out a hacksaw in supposed frustration, hoping the saw would get him out of his tangled pickle, the audience giggled as the hacksaw soon became entangled in the coat hangers as well. Throughout the routine Bouie expressed exasperation at himself, when in fact he was offering one after another clever illusion.
The performance finale was a challenge for Bouie to extricate himself from a straitjacket. As we watched him extricate his arms step-by-step on stage, finally pulling the entire jacket over his head in triumph, the magician revealed himself to be not only a skilled illusionist, but a talented contortionist as well. Afterwards, Bouie was mobbed by adoring fans who wanted to chat with him.
Support for the summer reading kick-off program was provided by the Friends of the Bellingham Library and the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation. The library’s summer reading program continues daily right up to the finale on Aug. 14 (see library info on pgs, 4 & 5). You can also visit the library’s website (www.bellinghamlibrary.org) for more details.