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s t a g e l i f e

The Art of the Jester

By Gwenyfar Rohler

On a cool, sunny afternoon last November,

I found a slightly befuddled jester standing on my father’s front porch. “Where’s the birthday boy?” he asked. I looked at his curled toe shoes and Elizabethan pumpkin pants. Wow, I thought. He just walked a block down Market Street dressed like that.

“He’s inside,” I responded. “We’re excited you’re here!” “What’s his name again?” “Lloyd.” “Lloyd, Lloyd, right, right.” The bells on his hat jingled when he nodded his head. I ushered him into the living room where my frail and prematurely aged father was propped up in a chair. “Daddy, look who I found lurking on your porch!” “Oh! Happy birthday, Lloyd!” the jester crowed, setting up his miniature briefcase on a nearby stool. For the next hour, Daddy, myself and Pam, my father’s better half, were transported into the realm of birthday-themed

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magic tricks and illusions artfully presented by a talented actor with a convincing character and all tied together with a cohesive narrative. Aside from being impressed with the magic show, I was floored by the artistry and skill of the writing and performance. Michael Rosander was our jester that day. He is the founder and director of No Sleeves Magic. The company name came from his first professional gig as a magician at a restaurant. In dress pants and a short-sleeved shirt, Rosander walked from table to table wowing customers with his tricks. Over and over people would ask, “How did you do that? You don’t have sleeves!” Exactly. Since his arrival in the Port City as a college student in 2000, Rosander has had many opportunities to say “yes.” Could he dress up as a patriot for an elementary school rally? “Yes.” Could he put together a magic show for a school of 600 kids in one month? “Yes. I didn’t have a show — I didn’t have anything. But I like taking risks.” He called his best friend from high school, Myke Holmes. “Hey, I got us this magic show.” The two had always been the class clowns and had somehow walked off with a life-sized rabbit costume from their high school. Holmes was to be Rosander’s “Magic Experiment Gone Wrong,” now transformed into a very large rabbit. “It’s perfect,” Rosander recalls saying to Holmes. “If anything goes wrong I can blame you.” The premise owed a lot to Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the kids loved it. Afterward, the princiThe Art & Soul of Wilmington

Photograph by Mark steelman

When magician Michael Rosander performs his sleight of hand, the words and magic are real

March 2014 Salt  

The Art and Soul of Wilmington

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