Many magicians adopt a stage persona and play a character in their performances, but The Magic Play stretches that concept to its limit. The play begins as a straight magic act, but the personal life and emotions of the magician start to bleed into his tricks. The Magic Play is the result of some unusual collaboration between writer Andrew Hinderaker and Brett Schneider, who both stars in the performance and created the magic for it. Leo Weekly interviewed Schneider about his work on The Magic Play and how he developed his personal blend of magic and theater.

The Magic Play is really about this character, and manipulation and control, and how you relate to people if you are very good at controlling people, or controlling a situation,” Schneider said. During the development of the show, Hinderaker would write effects or broad actions into the script for the magic sections. Schneider’s challenge was to translate those words into functional tricks that he would be able to perform on stage. The result is something that sounds quite original:

The difference between this play, and the patter you get with a magic trick, is that this is a meta script. It’s not just the words you say with a trick, this was the words the character is saying as he’s performing a magic show, and as he was having realizations onstage. So, it has this other layer of theatricality and narrative that magic doesn’t normally have.

The Magic Play runs at the Actors Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, through February 11.