The Pandora Experiment by Christian Cagigal
In thinking of modern-day magic, it's hard not to consider masters of spectacle like David Copperfield, who, with their glittery pyrotechnics and intense grimaces, have made eyes pop -- and roll -- for years. Christian Cagigal, the creator of The Pandora Experiment, provides a whimsical rejoinder to all the histrionics and tomfoolery. The title of the performance draws upon the Pandora myth, but Cagigal is more interested in the dusty keepsakes of childhood memory than the evils of mankind. The show is deemed an "experiment," but it's hardly a disinterested or analytical endeavor. For one, the seats are set up so you can clearly see everyone else's faces and reactions, which adds a layer of poignancy to the proceedings. It's the kind of backdrop in which the timelessness of childlike wonder is cross-pollinated with an eerie historicity (what with all the old dolls, dusty books, and tinkling music boxes) reminiscent of early 20th-century parlor tricks. Don't expect any cheesy pageantry.