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Sleight of Hand

Magician Darshwood return­s to perform in November at Lanier Mansion

Like many youths, he began doing magic at an early age

(November 2019) – The Lanier Mansion State Historic Site is arguably one of the most magical locations in Madison, Ind. Add trees, tinsel and twinkling lights and the holiday magic begins to enchant you. On Nov. 8, it will get even more magical with a little help from professional magician Richard Darshwood.
He is scheduled to perform during the 7-9 p.m. Holiday Magic at the Mansion event. Darshwood is an interactive entertainer who will perform in the mansion’s double parlor. There will be a cocktail hour while he does table side tricks during the mingling portion of the event. Guests will also have a chance to walk through the mansion with an interpreter.
Darshwood currently lives in New Albany, Ind., and has been practicing magic in some form or other since he was 9 years old.
“I started doing magic at 9 years, just like a lot of kids who get magic kits for Christmas or their birthday,” he said. “I sometimes joke that the reality is that instead of just trading it in for a new hobby, I just kept upgrading this magic kit until it got to be as good as it is today.”

Photo provided

Richard Darshwood performs interactive magic, similar to those parlor tricks that magicians performed back the Victorian age.

Don’t be fooled by Darshwood’s humble beginnings, however. He’s known for his ability to engage and captivate any audience, whether it be celebrities like Miranda Lambert and Martin Scorsese or your average Joe, which is why he’s been dubbed the “The Charming Trickster, himself.”
Inspired by his uncle, who is a world traveling stage illusionist, Darshwood goes beyond simple performance and fully immerses his audience in the magical experience. Because of this, Darshwood has also received two consecutive People’s Choice Awards from the International Brotherhood of Magicians for his skill in close-up magic.
“What really inspired me beyond that and drove my passion was seeing (my uncle’s) friends who worked with him and for him who did sleight-of-hand magic that can be done with simple common everyday objects that don’t require a large box or a trained assistant. You don’t need special lighting or a stage or even a big audience,” said Darshwood.
And that’s exactly the kind of magic guests can expect on Nov. 8 at the Lanier Mansion.
Darshwood said that during the Victorian period of the 1800s, it was not uncommon for a person of the economic status of J.F.D. Lanier to have a party with entertainment from magicians. Hence the origin of the term, “parlor tricks.”
“It’s really kind of a throwback to the age old, classical Victorian magicians, so it’s an honor for me to be able to do this kind of performance,” he said. “It’s very kind of nostalgic for me because I read up about the guys who did that kind of magic all through my life, and to be able to kind of step in their shoes for a night and to demonstrate for audiences what they would have seen over a 100 years ago, in some cases, is such an amazing thing.”
This is the third performance that Darshwood will do at the Lanier Mansion. Brittany Bellsworth, Programs Developer at Lanier Mansion, attributes his repeat performances to the great reviews from his first appearances there. “I think he’s just very personable, and from what I understand, he does a lot of close up magic and interacts with the guests a lot, which is really nice,” she said.
Leave the kids at home for this event, however, because this show trades rabbits in hats for bourbon on the rocks, so guests must be 21 and over.
“There will be a group cocktail hour where you can actually talk to the magician, which is nice. It’s a cool experience. You’ll get to ask him questions and see all the tricks, so there’ll be a mingling portion and an entertainment portion,” said Bellsworth.
Darshwood said that readers can expect magic to begin to happen “from the moment that they meet the Whiskey Wizard. Sometimes not even just things that he has in his pockets, but also things that they brought that they may not even have known had magical value.”

• Tickets for the event are $30 for members and $35 for
non-members. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.IndianaMuseum.org or by calling the mansion at
(812) 265-3526. The price includes hors d’oeuvres and
batch cocktails.

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