Magic, Mystery, and Mat LaVore


Photographs courtesy of Mounika Bayavarappu

Mat LaVore at the show


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.” On Thursday, February 8, Mat LaVore – a multi-talented illusionist and hypnotist started his show with this quotation from Albert Einstein. He then wowed a packed room with a night full of magic. He started the night with “simple” card tricks, imploring multiple audience members to memorize a card of their choosing. As predicted, he guessed each card, setting the audience up for a night that only got stranger and more magical as the night went on.
“I never knew what to expect,” said Annabella Paradies, who attended the show. “As soon as the tricks seemed to be over, he took them one step further.”
Pulling inspiration from Houdini, LaVore swallowed needles and thread and shocked (and in some cases, horrified) the crowd when he pulled the needles, now threaded onto the string, out of his mouth. In another trick, he guessed the word, location, and time chosen by three different members of the audience, much to the excitement of the onlooking crowd. As Mat performed his plethora of tricks, the audience cheered, laughed, and gasped in shock.
The final part of the show featured hypnotism, which shocked and amused the crowd. After encouraging everybody in the crowd to follow his instructions, LaVore chose several people to go up on stage. From there, he convinced them of a variety of insane, outlandish ideas — he made one girl forget how to drink water despite immense thirst, and made another girl think she was paralyzed from the neck down. At one point, each person on stage was made to forget his or her own name.
“There’s not a lot of times in life as an adult when you can go out and experience true wonder,” said Mat LaVore, discussing his favorite part about performing. His shows are meant to evoke that feeling of wonder in the audience. It’s safe to say, in his show full of hilarity, magic, and mystery, LaVore was able to evoke this feeling in his audience, and leave them with a lasting feeling of joy and wonder that they couldn’t have gotten anywhere else, and left UIS with a little bit more magic than we had before.