By BETHANY WIEGAND
The Spencers want you to forget any preconceived ideas about magic. This is not just card tricks, pulling rabbits out of hats and sawing ladies in half.
The Spencers, Kevin and Cindy, will present their show of magic, music and theater, "Spencers: Theatre of Illusion," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"We want everyone to leave scratching their heads," Kevin Spencer said. "We never want anyone to walk away without experiencing the magic.
"I think the thing that makes us different is that we call the show 'Theatre of Illusion.' It's a combination of our love for theatre and passion for magic. I want to move people emotionally and intellectually. It's great music, it's great theatre. Most people have never seen it presented as a performing art."
When Kevin was younger, his parents bought a magic kit for him as a Christmas present and he never looked back. He continued practicing magic through middle school, high school and even college. He saw his first live magic show in college, when Harry Blackstone Jr., a famous magician, performed at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tenn. After that performance, he then knew that he wanted to pursue magic as a profession.
Kevin's big break came when he attended a performance of Doug Henning, a magician that he had seen perform numerous times. At that show, he decided to give the magician a note, and to his surprise, Henning decided to meet with him after the show.
This performance will be the Spencers' first time in Williamsport.
"It's rare that we get to go to a place that we haven't been before," Kevin said. "I always get very excited!"
The Spencers' tour also will take them to Spain, Italy, Romania and Turkey. They've been overseas before, but never Europe.
The Spencers have brought their magic to Asia before and found a huge fanbase there.
"My office is in a different city every day," Kevin said. "I pinch myself every morning and say, 'This is what I get to do.' "
Cindy, Kevin's wife and partner, wasn't as involved in magic from the start, until she married Spencer.
She formerly was a diamond consultant for Zale's and gave that up to travel with Kevin.
"She always loved magic, but it wasn't until she met me that she appreciated it." Kevin said. Now, Cindy has made many accomplishments in the magic world. She is the first woman ever to be placed on the cover of "The Linking Ring," a major monthly magazine. Kevin said it is the largest international magic magazine in the world.
"They gave her own cover and recognized the contributions to the art that she has made as well," Kevin said.
And although Spencer is "the guy you look at for two hours," he insists that it still is a partnership.
For the "Theatre of Illusion," the Spencers perform two hours full of mind twisters, stunts and audience participation.
"That's my favorite part," Kevin said, "It's totally unscripted."
One of the biggest tricks that will be featured in Thursday's performance is a tribute to Houdini.
"In 1914, Houdini walked through a solid brick wall," Kevin said. "He stopped performing it after a few months. No one could understand why he stopped, there was a lot of speculation. Since then, no other magician has ever attempted it."
The stunt will involve eight to 12 cinder blocks that will be on display for the audience to have a chance to authenticate them. When the Spencers are ready to perform the illusion, Kevin will find an audience member to participate, and Kevin will walk through the wall. Other tricks that will be featured in the show will be, "The Spikes of Doom" and "Rock and Roll," which includes Kevin crawling through a fan with whirling blades.
For the Spencers, their fast paced life isn't just about entertainment. They use their resources to help others as well.
Another project that the Spencers spend a lot of time with is "No Illusions," which is a program for occupational therapy, using magic as a way to rehabilitate patients.
The program was started after Kevin was in a very bad car accident, in which he sustained a closed head injury and lower spinal injury.
After his own experience in occupational rehabilitiation for a year, he wanted to make it more interesting for patients, as he found himself bored and frustrated with the conventional therapy.
"When I got out, I sat down and thought, 'How can I make this more fun?' " Kevin said.
"The patients learn 40 to 50 different magic tricks and each is designed with a theraputic goal," Kevin said. "The more the patients work on the magic tricks, the better they get physically."
The program is used in more than 2,500 hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Kevin also teaches his program and is an assistant professor in the occupational therapy department of the University of Alabama.
While in the Williamsport area, the Spencers are set to visit the Children's Development Center and also the Susquehanna Health Rehabilitation Center.
For more information about tickets for the performance, visit www.caclive.com or call the box office at 326- 2424 or 800-432-9382.
For more information about the Spencers, visit www.spencersmagic.com.