PIQUA — The Illusion Maker is making the rounds in Miami County, taking a stop at Springcreek Primary School this week to inspire environmentally conscious attitudes in Piqua’s youth.
“Welcome to the wild and wonderful workshop, where we’re going to be working on some wild and wonderful ideas,” The Illusion Maker, aka David James of Scranton, Pa., said. “Ideas that will help us to take of the environment, and remember the environment is simply the world in which we live.”
The Illusion Maker is a one-man show with James portraying a variety of characters. From a “crazy professor” to a nonsensical goofball wearing a wig and fake teeth, James kept the show fast-paced with magic tricks and games while also promoting recycling and reducing waste.
“Now today we’re going to be talking about the three environmental R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle,” James said. “They each show us how we can help the environment. So today we’re going to find out if we reduce how much we use — or we use less — we reuse items when we use stuff over again, and we recycle, that will help us to throw away less and that’s healthy for the environment.”
During the session for kindergartners through second graders, James’ first magical feat was to read the students’ minds by asking different volunteers about items that could be recycled and items that can be reused. Through the trick, he seemingly predicted one student would say an aluminum pop can and another would say an aluminum pie pan. He also ended that on a card trick, predicting one girl’s card that she had a pulled from a deck, a four of diamonds.
“What is amazing is you guys know your stuff,” James said, commending the students for knowing what to recycle and what can be reused.
Afterward, James became the “Harry Whodunit” character, playing with hats and making it appear as if he had inflated the head of Trent Lucas, a second-grader at Springcreek.
James then played, “Are You Smarter Than a Cheese Grater?” with the kids, asking two volunteers — who then became Miss Swiss and Mr. Bleu Cheese — a series of questions involving his mantra, “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
In regard to littering, James asked if they had a candy wrapper while they were out at the park, should they take it home or find a trashcan. It was a trick question as both answers were right, showing that they should not just leave their trash on the ground. In addition to polluting the ground, “it also ends up polluting the water and making the water dirty as well,” James said. “Make sure you teach your friends and family that they should not litter as well.”
James told the kids to reuse items as much as they are able.
“If we’re reusing it, that means we’re not throwing it away,” James said.
As his “Crazy Professor” persona, James said that while recycling and reusing are both important, the most important way to help protect the environment is simply by using less. James went on to say that, through everyone recycling and using less stuff, “Together we can make ‘zee’ big difference.”
The show was funded by Miami County. The Miami County Commissioners approved 14 shows from The Illusion Maker for area schools.
For more information about The Illusion Maker, visit www.illusionmaker.net.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336