Photo by Joan Marcus.
Magic shows tend to utilize a deck of cards, and the magician Asi Wind does, but using a traditional one would be too rote. Instead, he still has something creative up his sleeve.
At Asi Wind’s Inner Circle, presented by David Blaine, you become the deck: your name, not the queen of hearts, is among the cards he’s manipulating. Audience members are asked to write their names on cards along with the first letter of their first name in the corners, as if those letters designate a suit. This offers a freshness to each show (by nature of changing audiences, the “DNA,” as Asi calls it, also changes each night). More meaningfully, it places import on what we and others call ourself.
Asi Wind is a stage name; Asi is Israeli and changed his surname to be more pronounceable. A rumination on selfhood, assimilation, and perception pervades Asi’s 75-minute show, but never in a way that is treacly or detracts from the magic — which is so astounding it approaches a sixth sense.
Asi guesses the names other audience members might prefer to go by. He spells out people’s names using cards’ suits, stacked in order. Audiences with cards Beth Ingrid Linus Larry Yara spell out BILLY, for example. His sleight of hand is mesmerizing, and, wearing but a black blazer and bare before the audience, is so impressive it feels otherworldly.
That it is not, that it feels human and grounded, is a testament to Asi’s charm and banter, which are cool and inviting, never bossy or off putting. His personality comes off as easily as his tricks, but the real spell may be that you leave asking questions Asi may ask himself: Who am I? How do others see me? Would I trade places with another if given the chance?
Asi’s questions are as simple yet mystifying as his sleight of hand.
Asi Wind’s Inner Circle
Now playing through January 14, 2024
Judson Theatre (243 Thompson Street)