Songs, dances and magic! – Utah Shakespeare Festival

By Liz Armstrong

Actor Rat Guta has many talented people. Of course, he’s a perfect actor, but (as evidenced by his performance at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer), he’s much more. For example, he has sung and danced across the stage as a swashbuckling pirate king. Pirates of Pensions, And he did the choreography The Greenshow. But what may not be obvious is that Guttierez is a professional magician, and real-life magician Harry Houdini uses that skill. Ragtime.

Gutter grew up in St. George, a South Utah native, and attended Tuakahn High School for the performing arts where he began studying dance, music and acting as a teenager; But what led Gutter to study the performing arts was actually magic.

“I entered the performing arts because I started reading magic when I was 12,” Gutter said. “I worked with a magician named Jeff McBride who told me that if I wanted to be a great magician, I would call him ‘Cousin Arts’.”

Guttar was the first student to graduate from the University of Southern Utah’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in musical theater and a bachelor’s degree in dance science.

“I’ve worked consistently for about seven seasons while in college and beyond,” Gutter said. “Then I moved to Chicago for five years and [am now] In New York City. There he is performing part-time and part-time working as a professional musician.

When Gutar heard that the festival was being made Ragtime This season, he immediately called on artistic director Brian Vaughn in the hope that he could play the role of Houdini and help Vaughn in magic in the play. Vaughn agrees and they begin work, discussing how magic can be folded most effectively into the fabric of the play.

“The strategies themselves weren’t challenging,” Gutter said. “The challenge was to integrate them into the drama without stopping the story.”

Gutar’s preferred technique Ragtime The box illusion trick of Act 2 is called “conversion”. In it, the actors disappear and reappear, confusing the audience with its believable execution. Or historically, Houdini was famous for performing this technique with his wife, and was therefore determined to implement music as a “historical historical consent” to the Gutar magician.

“As a professional magician, I do a lot of close-up magic, [such as] Hand sharpness, card tactics, currency tactics, these kinds of things, ”Gutter said. “You can see some of it in the play, but it doesn’t even fall to a large audience.” However, Gutter did not shy away from the challenges that come with this alternative magic, jumping at the chance to experiment.

“Personally, I like my first trick with a straight jacket because I designed it from scratch and I had no idea if it would work,” Gutter said. “So whenever that strategy works, it’s extra satisfying.”

For Gutter, getting back on stage this season was a great experience. Combining theater and magic, Gutar has been able to add his talent to the company’s arsenal and contribute to the theater’s magic.

Gutta thinks of the festival stage, and so this season is a full-circle moment in the life of the returning magician / actor. “I’ve learned how to perform on the festival stage, and for me to return to the country this year and share the talents I’ve learned here – but growing up as an artist over the last eight years – has been rewarding.”

The 2021 season of the festival runs until October 9th Pericles, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Pirates of Penance, Ragtime, Symboline, Intimate Clothing, And Horrible comedy. Tickets are available by calling -00-Platix or by visiting www.bard.org.

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