Classroom abracadabraWoodbury High School has started a new after school Magic Club.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
If you walk into English teacher Phil Bratnober’s room at Woodbury High School you just may see things you can’t believe.
Every Thursday after school, Bratnober’s classroom is home to the new WHS Magic Club.
“We’re so used to physics being reliable,” Bratnober said. “But in magic, people experience disruptions of the ordinary physics of the world and that’s intriguing to people because it gives them a feeling that there’s something else besides the ordinary.
“There’s an alternative reality that you can explore for a while and that’s interesting to some people.”
WHS freshman Dylan Barrett, who has been doing magic for the past three years, started the WHS Magic Club last month as a way to introduce his classmates to the fun of magic.
“I’m a magician,” he said. “I wanted a way to show other people that it’s a pretty fun pastime.”
Barrett first became interested in magic three years ago in Seattle, where he and his family encountered a street magician.
“He had my sister pick a card and I saw him put it in about the middle,” he said. “Then he snapped his fingers and it came back to the top.
“I was blown away by it and right then and there I wanted to learn that.”
Barrett said he essentially taught himself magic through books and DVDs, but he also participates in a monthly magic club meeting at Twin Cities Magic and Costume in St. Paul.
Barrett said his genre of expertise is close-up magic, which includes card, coin, ring and rubber band tricks.
“I like using stuff that people recognize that I can do some cool stuff with,” he said.
However, Barrett said he is hoping to learn more of the large scale tricks such as disappearing people and sawing people in half.
“It’s a little bit outside of my budget, but I’m working on it,” he said.
Barrett said his favorite part about magic is being able to interact with people.
“It’s a great ice breaker,” he said. “Plus, it’s one way to make someone’s day.”
Barrett said doing magic has greatly helped his people skills since he often performs magic at parties.
Barrett first came up with the idea of starting a magic club at WHS when he was doing tricks for classmates.
In doing tricks, Barrett came to learn that Bratnober was also a magician.
“I’ve been doing magic all my life,” Bratnober said. “I love the interaction, I love the looks on people’s faces and I love magic as an acting opportunity – I view magic acts as monologues, jokes and stories.
“In good magic, they enjoy the character of the magician.”
Barrett approached Bratnober about starting a magic club and before long the club was formed.
Currently the club has about 5-10 people who attend weekly.
Every Thursday, Barrett teaches two or three tricks to members of the club after which members will try out the tricks.
WHS sophomore Tristan Hight said he decided to join Magic Club because he had seen Barrett do magic tricks in class and thought it would be fun to learn to do them himself.
“Every day, he would do magic tricks so I wanted to see inside how you do them,” he said. “I like the card tricks because they’re simple to do.
“However, most people think they can wrap their mind around them, but there’s so many different possibilities.”
Hight and Barrett agree the popularity of magic stems from the unexplained.
“It’s something different that they probably haven’t seen before,” Barrett said. “It’s something out of the ordinary.”
“I think people are amazed by things they can’t figure out,” Hight said.
Barrett said he hopes to keep running Magic Club for a couple years, but he hopes to continue doing magic as a hobby for the rest of his life.
However, like any good magician, he won’t reveal his secrets.
“Unless you come to Magic Club,” he said. “Once people start hearing about it, I think they’ll like it.”