Smoke and Mirrors at the Road Theatre

Smoke and Mirrors adLocation: The Road Theatre, 5108 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601

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Dates: through December 28 (extended from November 2). Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Description: Writer-star Albie Selznick's Smoke and Mirrors returns to the Road Theatre on Lankershim. The play - which made its debut at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica in 2012 before moving to the Road Theatre in 2013 - is a combination of drama and magic act, starring Selznick as himself, in what is essentially a one-man show. The premise is that, having lost his father at a young age, Selznick turned to magic, with its illusion of mystical arts and the potential to summon the dead.

Smoke and MIrrors Oracle and Rabbit
Magician Albie Selznick, with his Rabbit assistant and the Oracle.

Underlying the young magician's craft is the never-quite-expressed hope that there may be some reality to the magic: the spirit of Houdini is evoked, and his wife Bessie appears as a magician's assistant to Selznick (who also has a human-sized rabbit helping him). However, the sought-for re-connection to the dead father remains forever elusive - an eternal frustration that lends a poignant air to the proceedings. However, SMOKE AND MIRRORS is far from a morbid downer: Selznick's magical skills are astounding, and the illusions (which sometimes involve audience participation) are presented with verve and humor, creating a wonderfully entertaining experience. And the dialogue with the Oracle (a face appearing in a giant orb) is priceless.

(Note: These comments are based on the version of the play seen at the Promenade Playhouse, which was directed by Paul Millet; the version on stage at the Road Theatre is directed by David Schweizer.)

Tickets are $34. Parking is available for $7 across the street at 5125 Lankershim.

Read a description from the theatre's website:

Smoke and Mirrors is a poignant yet humorous play packed with magic tricks, elaborate illusions, special effects, improv, audience participation, and spooky Houdini seances. Selznick takes the audience on his healing journey while enlisting the assistance of a life-sized ‘Rabbit’, ‘The Oracle’ (a giant talking orb), and Bess Houdini, who makes a rather startling appearance! Written and Performed by Albie Selznick and an extraordinary cast of conjurers, Directed by David Schweizer. Produced by Michelle Grant and Danielle Gautier.

Created by and starring noted actor Albie Selznick (Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, etc.) and Magician (a lifetime member of Hollywood’s Magic Castle), Smoke and Mirrors is a semi-autobiographical fantastical coming-of-age story about a boy who uses magic to escape reality and face the world after the death of his father.