How Derek DelGaudio brought Magic Show to Hulu – The Hollywood Reporter

As of 2017, Derek DelGaudio’s stage version In itself and in itself ran for 72 weeks at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York. But for those who couldn’t catch the concept magic show, DelGaudio and director Frank Oz created a filmed version that was released on Hulu in January. Amid the series of illusions, DelGaudio uses his personal stories and an allegory to explore the concept of identity, and through the film he allows viewers to see the show in a way that even those in the audience could not. not. “The performance was a long performance for me, from start to finish, from the first time I did it to the last time I did it,” he says. THR. “And every night was a fragment of this long piece. And, obviously, you couldn’t experience that live, but you could give an idea of ​​it in the film.

The show, which DelGaudio has played 560 times, includes audience participation, often leading to emotional moments of surprise through DelGaudio’s illusions. “In a theatre, if you were four or five rows back, you might not be able to see the single tear rolling down someone’s face, but with the close-up, with the camera, those things are very apparent. , and it’s harder to hide,” he says. “And so the truth becomes easier to spot in the film, I think, than in the live performance.”

DelGaudio and Oz spent a year in the editing room making the film and had to be selective about which audience members they would show – especially the famous ones.

“Having someone you know is different from having someone you have no preconceived idea about,” says DelGaudio, whose guests in the crowd included Tim Gunn, Bill Gates, Susan Sarandon, Kate McKinnon, Larry Wilmore, Tituss Burgess and performance artist. Marina Abramović. “It’s different for me to whisper something to Marina Abramović than to whisper to a random person. And it’s different, especially now, to see Bill Gates, than to see a random person that we don’t know. And the complications of that, of what we know about that person, what we think we know about that person, and that they see themselves as something and I identify them as something, is a level of complexity that makes part of the dialogue, and we felt it was important to include.

DelGaudio says he’s only watched the Hulu version — Emmy-eligible in the Special Variety category — only a handful of times since its debut, but was able to put some distance between himself and the room and watch it as a member of the public.

“I watch it and remember doing it – but it looks hard,” he says. “It looks really tough and it looks taxing, and I don’t envy that man for doing that.”

This story first appeared in the June 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Brian L. Hartfield