January 19, 2021

How does a therapist from Ohio end up doing magic on a Las Vegas stage??? Part 1

by Stacy Alan

As I try to ignore the churning in my stomach, wipe the sweat from my palms and calm my racing heart, I can’t help but think…. how did we get here? How are we standing backstage at the Rio in Las Vegas?? Am I dreaming or are we really about to walk out on the Penn and Teller stage, perform our very own piece of magic, and try to fool two of the world’s greatest magicians?

Before we get to those answers….let’s rewind. My path to this moment began 10 years ago when I met my now husband, Jason. Little did I know that our encounter would result in falling in love, a beautiful wedding and a major career shift! That’s right a year into our marriage I left the world of mental health counseling to join the circus.

Mental health and psychology were my first love. After high school I went to three universities, spent seven years in school and finally earned my Masters degree. I jumped headfirst into the work force working two jobs, one in a psychiatric unit for children and teens and the other as a therapist at a community mental health agency.  Both roles were demanding and high stress, but I loved them.

I valued connecting with people, learning how and why they ticked and getting to peer inside their minds. I felt a sense of pride knowing that I was helping others gain insight, make positive changes and hopefully gain a sense of control in their lives. I never thought I would feel fulfilled doing anything else….that changed when I was introduced to the world of magic and mentalism.   

And that’s where the circus part comes in…. well not quite the circus but I did marry a magician and he encouraged me to learn the art and become his stage partner. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would one day I’d say, I’m a magician, it still stuns me to be honest. 

People often ask me if I miss being a therapist or if I’m upset that I gave up my career. The answer is a simple no. I loved what I did and I think I was pretty good at it but performing magic gives me similar satisfactions and then some. To my surprise magic and psychology interlace and lean on each other quite a bit. 

Magic is so much more than card tricks and big box illusions. It’s a beautiful art form that uses a deep understanding of psychology to create moments that suspend reality. It’s an art form that allows people to get outside of their heads, away from everyday stress and sit with wonder and awe. I can now say my job is to provide, laughter, joy, curiosity and wonderment all while enjoying myself and sharing the stage with my life partner. I don’t think it gets much better than that!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, magic is crazy hard. It’s a very disciplined art form and I struggle with that. I struggle to put in the countless hours of practice that are required to be a skilled magician. Repetitive practice is my least favorite but it’s a must if you want to perform in front of others. Luckily, Jason loves practice (sometimes I have to beg him to put his playing cards down). His dedication and years of training have allowed him to break down magic effects and work with me one on one. I’ve learned a great deal in a short amount of time thanks to his help!

That’s what I love about our partnership on and off stage. We both bring unique skills that blend well together. Jason looks at everyday situations and immediately begins thinking in magic terms and effects. For example, he can look at an item in a store and instantly come up with five ways to manipulate it or use it in a routine. I on the other hand think more like an audience member and have a great understanding of how people’s brains perceive, follow and understand a magic trick. When we combine these skills and play on our strengths, we can create some really fun and entertaining magic.

So, how did a solo magician and a therapist become a duo act that made their way to the Penn and Teller stage? Find out tomorrow

Click to Read Part 2