After a month of practice, performer Paul Nathan pulled off the world’s first magic show with both artist and audience on scuba this past October.
Inspiration came easy: Travels led Nathan to Siegburg, Germany, and Dive4Life, a facility with 2.4 million gallons of impeccably clear water and a large platform 15 feet deep. Stage? Check.
For his 25-minute act, Nathan had to rethink everything. Plastic cards stuck together. The environment was dense, but the audience wouldn’t be, making sleight of hand a struggle. And in this man-made, current-free setting, nothing — even the host — remained still for a second. Balloons raced heavenward. A deck placed momentarily on a table led to 52-card pickup. But Nathan -wanted to make history.
Lift bags raised props, including a silk card. Other playing cards appeared in balloons.
“You pop them and a giant bubble explodes,” Nathan says. “It’s like underwater fireworks.”
A handkerchief went missing, reappearing in the sleeve of an onlooker’s wetsuit, and again when performance partner Martin Mall removed his regulator, pulling it from his mouth.
Did the duo find success?
“I didn’t know until after the first routine,” Nathan says.
In the dive brief, Mall shared a sign with the audience, showing spectators to “clap” by waving their fingers.
“I can practice all I want, but the magic doesn’t happen in my hands. It happens in their heads,” Nathan says. “The first trick is one I have done all my life, but seeing the audience waving their fingers delighted me. That was the most magical moment.”
» For upcoming shows, visit underwatermagicshow.com
Image courtesy of Georg Nies