What if you could actually wave a magic wand and give hope to someone who needs it most?
Meaningful Magic Corporation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headed by clinical psychologist and magician/escape artist Dr. Tom Virden (who performs as “Rook”). When asked about meaningful magic, he gives this elevator pitch:
“Magic, as a performance art, has the ability to provide information and messages in a deep and meaningful way. Meaningful Magic was formed in order to provide free magic shows in an effort to spread hope and empowerment to those who need it most.”
Simply put, Meaningful Magic sets up age-appropriate magic shows free of charge for a variety of organizations that provide a public service in the Phoenix, Arizona area. These organizations may include:
Bear in mind, however, that because Dr. Virden maintains his career as a Psychologist and Professor, shows are limited to the greater Phoenix area and dates may be limited as well.
Meaningful Magic is run entirely by donations, so there’s no direct cost to the organization. All that is required is a place to perform and people to enthrall!
There are, however, a few questions we like to ask in order to determine what kinds of effects Rook can perform:
How many people will be there?
In its maiden year as The Rook Project, Meaningful Magic has performed for groups as small as 5 and as large as 400. Some effects are better seen by large or small groups than others, so it’s good to know how big or small the audience will be.
About how old will the audience be?
We try to make the show as age-appropriate as possible. Knowing the general age range of the audience will enable Rook to communicate with them effectively through the performance of magic.
How much time do we have?
In general, these shows last roughly 45 minutes (give or take, depending on the engagement of the audience). However, if there are more specific time requirements, we can build a show around that as well.
Will there be time to set up?
Rook generally likes to arrive about 30 minutes early to set up. However, if that’s not feasible for whatever reasons, we can work around that as well!
Will there be a private place to set up?
Some effects need to be set up away from prying eyes. Ideally, the performance area ought to be kept from view until set up is complete. That’s not always possible, however, and will influence the effects that can be used.
How large is the room?
Rook likes to joke that he could perform in a phone booth if needed. It’s doubtful that he’s ever actually tried, but if your area is large or small, we can put together something for your group.
Is there a PA available?
This helps in terms of getting sound and music throughout your audience. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, Rook can bring his own. If your site has one already, however, it’s probably much better than any portable PA that Rook can bring!
Are there electrical outlets available?
This will certainly help to determine whether/where Rook can plug in a PA or other equipment that may pertain to the show. Sometimes, that’s not possible (e.g., some outdoor shows). That’s okay and we can adjust!
Is it okay to include animals in the show?
Sometimes the rabbit is the star of the magic show! However, if your site does not allow the use of animals for any reasons whatsoever, we’ll give them the day off.
Is it okay to take photographs or videos?
On occasion, we like to be able to have pictures and videos of Meaningful Magic in the making. It helps to explain what we do (check out our gallery!). If that’s not permissible for any reason, however, we’ll refrain from doing so.
Is a table available?
Depending on the show, it would be helpful to have a table around. Something small (about the size of a card table) generally works well. If that’s not available, don’t worry, Rook will bring his own.
Is there a table large enough for someone to comfortably lie upon?
Now that sounds like an odd request! One of Rook’s more popular effects involves someone laying upon a table. If that’s a possibility, he’ll be able to add this effect.