There was magic in the air at the last Family Fun Night of the summer in the Sarah Hull Hallock Library.
Scott Jameson, a magician and juggler, was the entertainment for the night. The show was focused around this summer’s reading theme, “Stories of the Universe.” Jameson is known for his acts that blend together entertainment and education.
Lois Skelly, the library’s director, said they had never done an event with him before, but he had raving reviews from other libraries in the area and she was excited for the event.
“I enjoy bringing live performances to children and their families,” Skelly said. “In a time when electronic entertainment can bring magic to life through computer graphics, I especially like seeing the amazement a mere human, with talent and much practice, can bring to an audience.”
Jameson’s act started with him turning a purple handkerchief into an egg, and then, to everyone’s surprise, revealing how he did his trick. Then his revelation turned into another trick, in which the fake egg turned into a real egg, wowing both adults and children in the audience.
Because the theme was “Stories of the Universe” Jameson’s act was focused around our universe, and he had a different act for each planet.
“Balls rotated through the air as planets; an ‘anti-gravity machine’ explained the weight of objects on Jupiter; a cup of water balanced on a tossed hoop represented the rings of Saturn,” Skelly said.
Jameson played audio from the moon landing while folding a newspaper into a rocket ship and balancing it on his chin. He had a big yellow ball to represent the sun, which he spun and balanced on his finger.
“I particularly liked Jameson’s opening balancing act, which was choreographed to a recording of the Apollo 11 launch to the moon, 50 years ago, it gave me goosebumps,” Skelly said.
Then came the juggling. Three balls represented the first three planets in the universe: gray for Mercury, white for Venus, and blue for Earth. While juggling Jameson talked about the different characteristics of each planet, which kept the children entertained without even realizing they were learning anything.
During the show Jameson did a lot of solo tricks, but had a few where volunteers came up as well. Joshua Massarone, 5, was the first volunteer and Jameson got him to balance and spin both a plate and a large ball on his fingers.
Jameson not only had magic skills, he also had a lot of comedy throughout his show as well. The kids enjoyed his over-the-top facial expressions and energy.
Michael Droney joined Jameson on stage to assist in one of the final magic tricks. Jameson took a regular water bottle and flipped it upside down onto the palm of his hand, saying that magicians have to be quick. He was planning on moving his bottom hand, grabbing the cap from Droney’s hand, and screwing it on before any water could fall out. The trick did not work the first three times, though the last time he decided to do it in slow motion. This time, the water stayed in the bottle even with no hand holding it there.
Not only was the trick amusing, it was pure magic to the kids when it finally worked. “Audience members, myself among them, were shaking our heads and asking, ‘How did he do that?’” Skelly said.
Though Family Fun Night’s are over at the library, they will have new after-school programs while keeping some crowd favorites, like their lego program and donkey petting zoo. The library is also starting a new program for senior citizens called Tea, Talks, and Workshops which focuses on helping seniors navigate through life. The talks are hard, but need to be had, and are taking place in a casual and comfortable setting, says Skelly.
“Library programming is one of the important ways our library offers information and inspiration to our patrons,” Skelly said.