The East Village’s celebrated Theatre 80 is the perfect venue to host “The Quantum Eye — Magic & Mentalism,” a clever, interactive show that’s written by and starring mentalist Sam Eaton. The cultural heritage of Saint Mark’s Place and its surrounding neighborhood, joined with the history that the small performance space preserves, sets a magical tone to the experience before the show even begins.
Combining his love of magic, fascination with the mind, and a charming stage presence, Eaton has grown “The Quantum Eye” into the longest running, one man, Off-Broadway magic show. With the assistance of audience participation (and remember, trying not to get picked is a sure-fire way to be asked up on stage…) the star moves fluidly through nine acts, employing a range of skills that leave his audience baffled.
While widened-eyes and dropped-jaws are routine reactions to the “impossibilities” performed in “The Quantum Eye,” the star is the first to affirm that he doesn’t harbor any psychic powers. “I perform many demonstrations of what appears to be mind reading in my show and I blend an array of different techniques and subtleties to create that illusion,” Eaton wrote in a blogpost on the show’s official website, www.thequantumeye.com. Like any classic magician, the entertainer won’t reveal specifically how he does what he does, however he’s eager to discuss many of the techniques that make “The Quantum Eye” possible.
After the first couple of tricks in the performance, that is, once even the skeptics start scratching their heads and actively wondering “how the heck does he do that?!”, Eaton reminds everyone of the Q&A/meet-and-greet session held after each show in Theatre 80’s black-and-white-checkered lobby. Taking him up on the offer to talk about their experience, after one show, a patron kept insisting that Eaton was telepathic. “[I] just use my mind,” he reassured them. “I can teach you to do this in five minutes — it’s just common sense. You’d do it poorly… however it could have been done by Egyptians with papyrus two-thousand years ago!”
So how does mentalism work?
“The Quantum Eye’s” playbill suggests that only 5-10 percent of communication is verbal, “the rest is comprised of a combination of conscious and unconscious signals broadcast through facial expressions, body language, gestures, tone, rhythm and volume of voice.” What’s easily misconstrued as “mindreading” is really Eaton’s acute understanding of nonverbal communication joined with an awareness of the patterns peoples’ minds are conditioned to think in. His utilizing lie detection, prediction, memorization, suggestion, mnemonics, mathematics, and deception allow for the array of demonstrations.
“One of the best guides I have had in my studies of this particular art is Dylan… a very talkative Golden Retriever mix,” Eaton wrote in Quantum Thoughts on the show’s website. “His ability to ‘Read’ me is extraordinary and I hope, one day, to come close to his mastery of listening to what others aren’t saying.”
The show is perfect for audiences of all ages — performances see adults as well as families — though kids under twelve years old may find “The Quantum Eye” a bit slow-paced; its entertainment relies heavily on Eaton’s witty dialogue and an understanding of how the tricks are set up. That noted, anyone with an interest in magic, science, or live theatre won’t regret going. “The Quantum Eye” is constantly entertaining, begs its audience to question what they know, and expands their comprehension of what is possible simply by thinking about things differently.
Full priced tickets are $49.00, but TicketNews readers can save up to though 28 percent off ticket face values when they use “The Quantum Eye” discount code TKNTQE.
The regular production schedule includes performances at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings at Theatre 80. The show is currently on tour but will resume weekly performances on October 6.