The show, an allegory of deceit that surrounds us today
“Spotlight… dazzle… applause!
His charisma is burning brightly, radiating feverishly. It is as if the audience is caught on fire; gleeful faces shouting his name; wonderful praises all being thrown to him from left to right. He even heard loud and overjoyed cries. Yes, he is in his element.
A puppeteer, he thought. It’s as if I am god!
Such theatrics, the way his body moves along with the rhythm of the upbeat music. As sweat begins to cascade down their worn-out shirts, the crowd continues to leap and reach for him. There is no restraint in their adoration. They have truly succumbed to the madness.
The magician takes his hat off. The audience is struck with awe in his every move. The once deafening sound all hushes, waiting for his next step. All eyes are on this black velvet top hat as his wrinkly hands moves towards its brim, moving with ease, fluttering his fingers, and in lightspeed, he pulls out a dove! The audience roars in astonishment. “Such tricks! Such wondrous magic!” the crowd recklessly applauds the act without giving the bird some thought.
He holds it by its neck, the red liquid substance—smelling like iron—cascades down from a flesh wound on its back. It dripped and puddled on the wooden stage. He whistled for his assistant, a charming dancer in rhinestone-littered one-piece clothing, a feathered headdress adorns her hair, scurries over to his request and gets a mop. She goes onstage with the same charisma as his, though not overshadowing the main performer. And with a charming grin plastering her face, she sweeps the dead doves off the stage, not disconcerted as if she had done this a million times before.
The auditorium cheers more and more as the magician continues to pull out lifeless doves. A heap of them carelessly spewed around the stage, releasing a pungent odor and yet, the audience shows no sign of disgust.
The magician kept up with the show while the feverish crowd cheered “More! More!” And with that, he becomes more compelled to entertain, loving the lavish words, engulfed with power. He strives for the pinnacle of this high, daring anyone that might pull him back down.
The show is me, he thinks. But he deeply knows that his brittle bones can not keep the theatrics going. He knows his body will fail soon. And while he contemplates his downfall, the worse follows suit. All of a sudden, the magician falls to his knees, gasping for air, his black velvet hat tumbles down from his head as his whole body collides with the wooden stage. A loud thud is heard soon after. In shock from what just occurred, all of the people cry for the magician.
His lifeless body becomes one with the doves, though not with the same respect as them. He falls and people start to throw roses back at him, while the fallen doves are swept away, unremembered.. The doves fell and they got swept away, unremembered.
Now, the disheartened crowd is mourning the once charismatic magician, sobbing to their handkerchiefs, never leaving their seats. The dancers are all dazed and wary as well, afraid to touch their master’s body. Without warning, the curtains draw along the closing of lights, and not a single pin drop is heard inside the auditorium as the crowd absorbs the scene unfolding before them. The scarlet curtain blinds the crowd with its thick cloth, concealing the lifeless bodies from view.
After a five-minute stillness, drums began to roll—
“Ladies and gentlemen! Prepare to be amazed!” A booming voice shot its way through the entire auditorium, piercing the silence that consumed each and every living soul in the place. Instantly, beams of bright white lights criss-cross all over the thick curtain.
A jaw-dropping revelation, the crowd can not believe what is unfolding right in front of them. A puff of smoke made its way onto the stage floor that creates a hazy scene. The lights dimming and a mere spotlight shines blindingly in the middle. It was silent. There is a gasp of breath from the sea of people waiting in anticipation.
Alas! The curtains gradually move and there he is, the magician! But with a seemingly young face and a graceful stir. And like a Cheshire cat, he beams from ear to ear as he shows no trace of discomfort; mesmerizing the crowd with his again shimmer-studded suit; standing poised and alluring to the eyes as he normally was. Peculiar as it may seem but eventually the crowd still roars his name again and again. The chant causes a loud vibration in the auditorium.
The crowd has seen nothing like this before. “Unbelievably astounding! He is back to entertain!” The new magician welcomes all the applause thrown to him along with the roses without their thorns, all grazing his wonderful soft skin. And without using words, he points to his black velvet hat and the crowd begins to ignite more so than before.
“Spotlight… dazzle… applause!
Art by Sheka Ignaco