?The Illusion? is pure magic

Aubrey Canfield

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Tony Kushner’s ‘The Illusion’ follows an old man, Pridamant played by Spencer Downie, on a quest to reconcile the mistakes of his past, namely banishment of his estranged son. He finds his way to a magician’s cave where he meets Aclandre, played by Rachel Friedman, who is a powerful conjurer of the past.

Kushner’s adaptation focuses heavily on the theme of love between father and child, man and woman, husband and wife, an actor and the theatre and so on.

The play also deals with deception, and the set provided many opportunities for deceit to transpire. Carefully positioned trees, stonewalls and alcoves were perfect for hiding and spying. Scrims, fog, strobe lighting and voice modifiers were some other instruments used to create the magic.

‘The Illusion’ had a cast of dedicated and hard-working actors. One actor gave an especially outstanding performance, and he didn’t even have to speak. Theatre major Kotaroh Zushi, 24, played the Amanuensis who, for a good portion of the piece, does not speak. This presented a special challenge to the actor. But, despite obvious obstacles, Kotaroh Zushi demonstrated intense feeling, drama and comedy through movement alone. Moreover, because his movements were so clear, when he delivered text the audience hung on every word.

A perfect example was when Amanuensis is instructed to shut down the liar. Watching the actor sweep was a comical moment for the audience. However, we still couldn’t take our eyes off of his every move. The culmination was Amanuensis’s final words, ‘Not in this life, but in the next.’

The applause was overwhelming.

CSUN’s production of Tony Kushner’s ‘The Illusion,’ which ran last week at CSUN’s Little Theater, was beautiful, insightful and fun. Is love merely an Illusion? This is the question we must all ask ourselves and perhaps peer into the illusions of our own lives to find an answer.