Carter the Great Cheating the Gallows
You’re sitting in a dimly lit auditorium with nothing but a noose on the stage in front of you. The house is full of nervous onlookers, both scared and anxious to watch the macabre scene about to unfold before them. Dramatically, a man named Charles Carter is dragged out on stage; the noose placed around his neck. As every onlooker tenses up in fright, he is thrown down to the end of the hangman’s noose. Just as he is to inevitably die before a large audience, he simply vanishes; disappears.
The onlookers, still stunned and frightened, begin to remember that they are at a magic show, and the man that narrowly avoided death before them is Carter the Great, a master of dark illusion. He is alive and well, and upon appearing back on stage, the audience now remembers to enjoy the prolific illusion show that they came out to see, and that they witnessed a brilliant trick called cheating the gallows.
On this date, June 14, we celebrate the birthday of Charles Joseph Carter, a.k.a. Carter the Great (1871-1936). This fantastic American performer had great international success using dark themes and frightening metaphors extraordinarily uncharacteristic, even risky for the time.
Carter the Great was born 140 years ago today.
Finally, available for your viewing pleasure, “Magic”. A short film written and directed by Spencer Gordon, the project was a ton of fun to work on. Filmed in New York City at 145 Antiques, an antique furniture shop in Downtown Manhattan.
Posted March 28th, 2011. 1 comment
Acting is one of the most difficult professions to survive in. You’ll audition for a million shows just to get one part, spend weeks if not months in rehearsals, then wind up doing a tiny, limited run before the show is canceled. For every successful play or well-known actor, you have countless failures and pathetic stories to boot. This commitment to statistical failure is one of the primary reasons that I never seriously pursued acting, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it on the side.
Most recently I participated in a production of the modern musical classic, Sweeney Todd (Directed by Dana Tarantino). Throughout the rehearsals, there was a ton of drama, a great deal of uncertainty and plenty of fun. When all was said and done we had an excellent run with great reception from the audiences at the Gerald Lynch Theater.
And for me, the constant stop-and-go of life behind the curtain provided excellent grounds for backstage magical high jinks. Here are some photographs cast members took of my conjuring in costume: