By MARIA SCIULLO
Liberty Magic had Alba scheduled to perform her mini-residency in November, 2020. And, poof! Pandemic. So that gig disappeared faster than a coin on her fingertips.
At last, here she is.
“It was a long time coming,” she said, referring to her upcoming run at the intimate Pittsburgh Cultural Trust venue. “I don’t think [the audience] will be more excited than I am.”
Her sleight-of-hand show, Alba In Conexiones, kicks off the 2023-24 series September 6 and runs through October 1. It’s the first in a lineup that features Shoot Ogawa (beginning October 4), Michael Misko (December 6); in 2024, William Watt (February 7), Shawn Farquhar (March 7), Naathan Phan and Robert Ramirez (April 3), Zabrecky (June 5) and Heneck Negash (August 7).
There are a few Liberty Magic specials as well: Pittsburgh native Lee Terbosic (beginning October 25 of next month) and Derek Hughes (January 17, 2024). A Spotlight on the ‘Burgh’ (May 15, 2024) gives local magic talents a chance to shine.
Alba’s approach to what she describes as “guerilla magic” is highly theatrical.
“They told me ‘Blank check, so do what you want…’ and I said ‘Oh, you are going to have it.’ “
There’s magic, of course, but are also a message. The specifics remain to be seen; after all, what magician is into spoilers? It’s a brand-new show that she said really excites her.
Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alba grew up loving magic as well as the theater. As an actress, she thrived on plays such as Tamara, a postmodern production that immerses the audience in different parts of a venue until it all comes together at the end.
“I remember once, I was sitting on a bed, crying. And there’s a guy talking to someone and saying, ‘No, she’s really crying …’ It can throw you off. It’s a little distracting but on the other hand, it is so fabulous. [The audience] feel like flies on the wall.”
That “no rules” vibe is exactly what she hopes to create in a career that’s including numerous appearances on all three stages at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles; she was the first South American woman to do so.
Liberty Magic is for connoisseurs of close-up prestidigitation. There will be no elephants in the room, or jet planes, as one might see in Vegas. Just astonishing acts, small miracles.
“People are always completely mesmerized by something that happened to them up close. If you can [surprise] them, it’s always stronger because it’s a personal experience.”
Over the years, Alba has stepped back a few times to re-consider what she wants in her career. Those breaks have benefitted and refreshed her outlook.
“Magic is my first love but other times I need to regroup and say ‘what am I going to be telling now?’ I didn’t choose to stop performing because of Covid, but it helped me a lot to think.”
One aspect of her Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule includes a short, intimate aftershow with those who purchase top-tier “Skeleton Key” tickets. Alba said it will be a new experience for her but she is used to talking to audience members and appreciates their different perspectives.
“I love to hear it, especially with men and women, they might have different aspects of what they take away [from her performance],” she said.
But if on some nights, the audience seems more interested in additional close-up magic, that’s also fine.
“Like I said, guerrilla magic. Whatever you need me to do.”
TICKETS AND DETAILS
Alba in Conexienes is at Liberty Magic, 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown, September 6-October 1. Visit https://trustarts.org/pct_home/events/series/liberty-magic/shows or call the box office, 412-456-6666