Ludlow Quinn presents: The Tale of Fox and the Chinese Magician

By Eli Keel
Directed by Rachel Vidal

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

The most recent addition to this Small Batch Series from Theatre [502] comes from the pen of Ludlow Quinn himself, Eli Keel, and it is an entry that ties Asian mythology to the skills of a Chinese magician named Chang. The name and character are drawn, as are all the entries in this series, from one of the vintage posters that decorate the walls of The Baron’s Theatre.

In contrast to the history of Caucasian magicians masquerading as “oriental mystics”, Keel’s Chang is authentically Chinese. When we first see him perform, the “magic” of his illusions is carried out by a figure clad head-to-toe in black, a puppeteer in the tradition of bunraku who turns out to represent something much more malevolent. Chang apparently has no awareness that his abilities are anything but honestly earned, although his assistant might know more than she lets on.

The writer is pulling something out of his hat here, using the poster to allow him to have fun with an original notion: that a magician’s life and career might be driven by moral conflict; the struggle between good and evil. To say more would be a spoiler, and, even though the run is over, I entertain the hope that the short plays in the Ludlow Quinn presents series will see life again somewhere in the near future.

The production is well cast, but played a little rough around the edges in the first performance, but Christophe Leong, Gil Reyes, and Beth Tantanella all do fine work here, with Reyes and Tantanella engaging in some physical combat that brought just the right amount of absurdity to the proceedings. (With her fine sense of balance, my money would be on Tantanella). Playwright Keel continues his rascally turn as MC Ludlow Quinn.


Ludlow Quinn presents: The Tale of Fox and the Chinese Magician

September 5, 2014

Coming next on October 2, 2014

Ludlow Quinn presents: The Man Who Knows (And The Boy Who Doesn’t) by Rachel White

Theatre [502]
The Baron’s Theatre
131 East Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Theatre[502]. org





522376_10150855265208899_1650256485_n[box_light]Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at the Louisville Visual Art Association during the days, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in TheatreLouisville, Louisville Mojo and his own website, The Arts Louisville, before merging operations and becoming Managing Editor for[/box_light]