Eric Wilzig gave a thrilling, magical performance at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) on Friday, Feb. 16. Wilzig has performed on NBC’s hit show America’s Got Talent, along with international shows in Europe, Israel and the Caribbean. His brand is “extreme magic;” he specializes in stunts, illusions and escapes.
Wilzig opened his performance with a wow factor by lighting the inside of a cage on fire. After covering it with a curtain, he revealed that his assistant, Taylor, was inside. The magician delivered stunt after stunt including participants from the audience. Wilzig jammed himself into a combination-locked, metal box one that looked too tight to hold an adult. Then, while handcuffed, he spectacularly escaped by sticking one hand out and entering the combination from inside.
The illusionist began his next trick by asking the crowd for a 20-dollar bill. In a room full of college students, he knew it would be hard to find. Once an audience member provided one, he then asked a volunteer, Owen, to write his name on the bill and put it in a small velvet bag. Wilzig gave Owen the choice of picking a prize or keeping the twenty dollars. The participant decided to stick with the bill, but looked inside the bag and discovered that it was replaced with a piece of paper that said he was a winner. The unchosen prize was only a lemon. Owen reached into the bag of lemons offered by Wilzig and handed it off to the magician to cut it open. Amazingly, the exact same twenty-dollar bill was in the flesh of the lemon.
With each stunt, Wilzig brought volunteers up to the stage to examine his equipment and make sure that there were no trap doors or escapes. During one illusion, he handcuffed his assistant, tied her up in a bag and locked her in a wooden crate. The audience was certain that there was no way she could escape. Then, the stuntman stood on the wooden crate, covered it with a circular curtain and, in a flash, Taylor was right in his place. The assistant lowered the curtain and unlocked the crate to reveal that Wilzig switched places with her. He was even handcuffed like she was.
The magician rarely took a break. The tricks kept going on and on as he kept the audience on their toes. Throughout his performances, he regularly asked the participants “Have we met before?” and they always said no, which proved that his stunts weren’t setups. The illusions were so mind-boggling, the audience often gasped and hollered in shock. “I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” an audience member said after the show.
Wilzig ended the show with an amazing stunt. His feet were suspended 12 feet from the ground as he hung upside down from a large and dangerous contraption. The magician called it “The Jaws of Death.” An audience member checked the contraption to make sure it was real metal before strapping the stuntman into a straightjacket. Wilzig gave himself one minute and 22 seconds to free himself before the jaws would chomp down on him. He mentioned that the historically great magician Houdini’s record for escaping a straitjacket upside down was over two minutes, so him completing it in less time would be a major feat. Tension was evident on both Wilzig and his assistant’s face as he began the escape. Eyes widened in anticipation as he escaped the trap with three seconds to spare. The jaws closed shut intensely as he jumped to the ground, safe and sound. The audience could barely bring their hands together to applaud as they were recovering from shock.
If you are interested in learning more about Eric Wilzig, you can check him out online at www.extrememagicoferic.com