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Kevin and Cindy Spencer have developed a way to use magic in occupational therapy as well as on stage. (Special to the American Press)

Kevin and Cindy Spencer have developed a way to use magic in occupational therapy as well as on stage. (Special to the American Press)

Illusionists Kevin, Cindy Spencer take stage tonight

Last Modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:33 AM

By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

Magic is entertaining, but husband-and-wife illusionist duo Kevin and Cindy Spencer say it also helps people heal.

The Spencers, who will perform Friday as part of the McNeese Banners Series, plan to visit West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital in Sulphur to talk about how to use magic in occupational therapy.

“Early in my magic career I was in a very bad automobile accident, and I sustained spinal cord and brain injuries. I spent a year in physical therapy and know how boring and frustrating it can be,” said Kevin Spencer.

“When I finished, my wife and I decided to put together a physical therapy program that is a little more motivating. The therapy involves teaching patients several simple magic tricks, and asking them to practice performing them instead of traditional therapies.”

The Spencers’ method is reportedly used in more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide.

The Banners performance, “Spencers: Theatre of Illusion,” will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, in the Lake Charles Civic Center’s Rosa Hart Theater.

It will feature theatrical elements, audience interaction and special effects. Tickets are $5 for children 18 and under, $20 for adults, and free for McNeese State University students.

“We performed in Lake Charles about a decade ago, and now we’re coming back with a truckload of new illusions. We carry 12 tons of equipment with us — none of that being rabbits or capes,” Spencer said.

“We created the genre of theatrical magic. We believe that magic is a performing art in much the way the musical performances and theater are; it can and should move audiences emotionally and intellectually. Most audiences have never seen magic performed this way.”

One of the duo’s most impressive tricks is one first attempted by Harry Houdini.

“Houdini used to do a trick where he walked through a brick wall. He only did it a few times and no one has attempted it since,” Spencer said. “We’ve taken the illusion and given it a 21st-century twist.”

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