Happy Halloween birthday to our first recorded guest, Paul Draper! He was kind enough to be my Context guinea pig back in August, and what with the birthday and all, today seemed like a great time to share his wisdom with the world. Paul is a stealth dramaturg, but he's best known for his work as a magician and mentalist. He's also a cultural anthropologist! So we talked about the historic role of magic in society and its evolution from religious practice to a form of entertainment and commerce! Because when you have magical anthropologist on-hand, you gotta ask all these questions.
On this episode of The Context, Paul talks to me about:
- His journey into dramaturgy. As a young Jewish person in Salt Lake City, he was the go-to religion consultant every time anyone put on a production of Fiddler on the Roof.
- His journey into magic, which was based largely on the desire to have magical powers as a little kid.
- How he came to be a student of magic, and how his personal religious scholarship encouraged the deep dive into the role of magic in society
- How historical, literal witch hunts changed the nature of his profession
- What real-life skills he's developed for his mind-reading shows, including how he's honed his instincts for lie-detection
- His ethical obligation to let folks know that he doesn't do real magic, and how even with that disclaimer he's occasionally picketed by religious groups for doing sorcery
- How he meaningfully engages with his audience
- What I should do about my loved ones who are pretty sure they get messages from ghosts
Learn all about Paul at Mental Mysteries.
Happy halloween and happy dramaturging from all of us at The Context!
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