Spotlight on Ohlone:
Magician’s assistant travels to Puyang, China

By Jillian Sanchez, Features editor.

Thursday, May 13, 2010—Reprinted from Monitor.

Group of people. Wiest with Sisuepahn Phila, Farrell Dillon, Jonathan Levit, Eric Buss, Chris Mitchell and Ed Alonzo. —Photo courtesy of Chris Mitchell.

Most students get a job at a local grocery store or a fast food joint. Tyler Wiest is not your average student. Two weeks ago, Wiest traveled to China as a magician’s assistant.

“The main job for an assistant to set up the show and be in the show” he said. Performing for the Chinese was not easy for Wiest or the magician he was assisting. “For the magic, a lot of the magicians in the show were speaking and then an interpreter would speak which turned a seven-minute show into a fourteen minute show,” said Wiest. “The magician I was working with makes all his tricks able to be done as silent tricks.”

Apparently, Chinese entertainment is different than American entertainment, aside from outrageous game shows that involve eating raw lobsters. “In China, the audience has never been exposed to that kind of entertainment. What would normally cause a great deal of laughter didn’t.”

Along with performing in the show, Wiest got a look at the poverty that China suffers from.

“China was an adventure, to say the least,” said Wiest. “It’s hard to describe just how different [China] is.”

The stage for the magic show in China.The stage. —Photo courtesy of Chris Mitchell.

The city of Puyang suffers from extreme amounts of poverty. “In this city, there weren’t really any trash cans and the kids didn’t wear diapers, so they would just go in the street.”

China’s government has always been known for being “strict” on what information comes in and what goes out. “They have a big use of censorship,” said Wiest. The censorship was so strict that even certain websites, international news, etc. was denied access. “The government was very different,” said Wiest. “In China, you can’t get on to news websites. They don’t really talk about international news.”

As for going back to China? “I don’t know if I would go back to the city I was in.”

It was definitely an experience that broadened Wiest’s horizons, “I would say that I am now more prepared for future gigs like this because there were a lot of curve balls.”

“My perception is that the world is a lot bigger. I was expecting what looked like Hong Kong, not what was in Puyang.”

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