BROOKINGS – “At Hillcrest Elementary, a magician came in and it was just something that for whatever reason caught my attention. It was the first time that I’d seen magic.”

That first time led to Reza Borchardt begging his parents, Ron and Pouran Borchardt, to buy him a magic kit. They did. 

Now people come in great numbers to see Reza’s brand of magic and the art of illusion at venues across the nation and around the world.

And now the kid who got his start in magic in Brookings is bringing his new show – “Edge of Illusion” – to the new proscenium theater at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center at South Dakota State University, the first time he has played that venue.

“It’s incredible,” Reza said of the PAC. He added that the facility lends itself “perfectly” to the staging and setting up of the materials and props he needs for his show.

“It rivals itself to anything that we did in our last tour, with their 3,000 seats or more,” he explained. “It (the PAC proscenium theater) has 850 seats; it has the same attention to detail. It makes the experience great.

“I hope that show after show (the PAC) has community support and this will be a huge success in Brookings. I know it will be.”

Reza noted that his show “will pull out all the stops.”

A nod to the past

His PAC audience can expect to see mega illusions, such as passing through the spinning blades of an electrical fan, the appearance of a helicopter live on stage in a split second, and “a record-breaking recreation of Houdini’s most famous stunt.”

”It’s kind of a nod to the past,” Reza said. “When you think of Houdini – the locks, the chains, the crate – and he set an impressive record for escaping from that, of course. I’m going to try it like he would have, if he was here today.” 

He will call upon audience members to assist in locking him up.

“It’s a real challenge,” he added. “Given that impossible scenario, I have no control; they have all the control. I’m going to try to break his record, as well as add a new element (to my show). I like to push all boundaries.” 

Hometown boy makes good

Looking back from now to the beginning of his love for magic, Reza, 33, acknowledges that his parents have always played a key role in his success.

“They have been super supportive,” he said. “That was everything to me, the fact that they would encourage me, guide me and advise me in taking it from a hobby to a career.

“At an early age they started taking me to Branson (Missouri) for vacations. That was the closest place to see world-class magic. I was seeing those huge shows and those magicians I looked up to. It helped cultivate that dream for me.”

At 15, Reza left Brookings for Branson, where he performed 18 shows a week for six weeks. He continues to perform a lot of shows there (nearly 150 planned in 2019, according to his website) and in 2016 was voted Branson’s Magician of the Year.

From watching the performers to being a premier performer himself has been a “cool and awesome” experience for Reza. “Now I get to see audiences, parents and young kids coming to the show,” he explained.

“Afterwards I take a moment to go out to the lobby after the shows and do photos and so forth. I hear stories and it’s like déjà vu. I see the excitement on the kids’ faces.”

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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