Review: Scott Silven’s The Journey

by Lynn on February 17, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Streamed on-line to Feb. 21 and then March 16-28, 2021.

Created and performed by Scott Silven

Text by Rob Drummond

Directed by Allie Winton Butler

Production designed by Jeff Sugg

Sound design by Gareth Fry

Composer, Jherek Bishcoff

Sometimes you just throw up your hands and say, “I don’t’ know how he did that. It must be magic.”

Scott Silven, mentalist-extraordinaire, magician, re-creator of ‘the impossible,’ has fashioned a new on-line show guaranteed to raise your eye-brows in disbelief. (He did the same in person when he played Luminato in 2018).

This new show melds time, connection, place and 30 people for each show. We are instructed to let intuition guide us and to trust our instincts. He is in his home in rugged Scotland. We are at home, where ever. We are connected by our computers (cell phones are not recommended to be used to follow The Journey). It’s recommended that we use ear buds; check our connections; sound levels etc. We enter a lobby waiting area before the hour to begin The Journey.

We see Scott Silven walking over the rugged hills and narrow pathways supposedly in Scotland near his home. There are flashes of five smooth stones piled up, a piece of paper with markings on it that he scrunches up, a box, a rocky formation. All are reference points to be noted carefully.

Scott Silven’s quiet voice enters our heads via the ear buds, first the left ear, then around to the right and at times around the room. It’s spooky. How did they do that? That’s what I thought the first time I experienced this moving sound in my ear buds a few years ago. A quick look at the program for Scott Silven’s The Journey reveals that answer. The Sound Designer for this show is Gareth Fry. He also did the incredible surround sound for The Encounter for Complicit, a production I listened to via computer using my own ear buds a few years ago. Hearing that effect in Scott Silven’s The Journey does not make it any less impressive.

(NOTE: When it’s time to actually begin The Journey, there should be some clue that we have to exit the ‘waiting lobby’ go back to the home page and then click to begin The Journey. One might think to just wait in the Lobby for the show to begin there).

When the show begins, Scott Silven is in his house. Our faces in our own computer squares are flashed across the walls of his room. Scott Silven welcomes us and calls on us to participate over the hour of the show. He does it in the most respectful of ways—kind, gentle, inviting and happy of our involvement.  He tells us a compelling story of a little boy who wanders away from his home. A line of light snakes along the walls of his room for effect. There are projections of the sea banging against rock; wild clouds forming in the sky. He hangs a closed box from a rope from the ceiling that will factor in the culmination of his most elaborate feat of the impossible.

At various times we will be asked to hold up an object that means something to us, pick the number of an address that meant something to us, a date of significance, think of a scene that is important and he will take that information and connect it to objects around his room. In one very subtle instance he takes a framed page off the wall and gently taps the wall to show it is solid and not fake so that the framed page could have been manipulated somehow.

With Silven, the mind-manipulation, the intuition etc. are used to elevate his ‘impossible’ creations—to call them ‘tricks’ seems so ordinary, and there is nothing ordinary about Silven’s imagination or creative mind. Just when your jaw drops at what we think is the conclusion of a trick, Silven goes further.

Scott Silven’s The Journey is a fascinating ‘magic’ show full of images to distract and engage, a lovely message of connection, and endless moments where you shake your head in amazement.

Only in one instance does Silven not have control—the beginning. I was told by “Thomas” who checked in to see that all was good with my computer, that we would be holding for a few minutes because all the participants had not checked in yet by the start time. I said, “We’re at home and these few are still late?” “Thomas” had to sheepishly say yes. I said, “Start. They’re late.” The pandemic is making us impatient and irritable. We’ve been waiting a year to get back into a live theatre and to have to wait even more because of a late few, is galling. Something to think about for future shows.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.