The Magician by Holly Autry Jurbergs | Script Revolution

The Magician

A dying magician saves his best trick for last and reunites with the love of his life.



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The story for “The Magician” was inspired by real-life English stage magician John Nevil Maskelyne, who performed during the Victorian era in London’s famous Egyptian Hall. Maskelyne was also a scientist who invented the pay toilet and wrote a book that explained the most common card sharp practices.

The film opens with a street view of the carved pillars and hieroglyphics of the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London. Cobblestone streets and horses and carriages define the Victorian era setting. Gentlemen sport tails and top hats. Women wear corsets and sweeping crinoline skirts. Inside the lavish theater, an old magician, Edwin, sets up the stage for his evening magic show, as his young assistant, Douglas, arrives. Edwin, overcome with a racking cough, asks Douglas for a ride to the Doctor’s Commons. Act 1 ends with Edwin learning he has pneumonia.

In Act 2, we enter Edwin’s world of magic and illusions. Douglas warms up the crowd for Edwin’s evening magic show with a few visual card tricks. Edwin, intelligent and funny, takes the stage and opens his show with one of his most famous illusions. A master of sleight of hand, he fills a gold cage with doves that seem to materialize from thin air. He ends his show with a disappearing act with his lady friend’s help, a beautiful Italian burlesque dancer, Louisa. Edwin places Louisa inside a wooden box that resembles a safe with a large glass compass mounted on the front. After a spin of the dial, Edwin opens the box to reveal it is empty. Louisa reappears dressed in a swimsuit after a day at the beach. After the show, Douglas drives the ailing Edwin home and helps him prepare sarsaparilla tea for his cough. Edwin shares a sad story about his late wife Beatrice and his baby boy, Henry, who were lost during Beatrice’s difficult labor and delivery. Douglas learns that Beatrice’s father was a physicist interested in time travel. When Douglas returns to Edwin’s home the next week, Edwin’s health has not improved. Edwin asks Douglas for help to prepare for his final magic show.

In Act 3, Edwin announces that Douglas will be the new head magician at the Egyptian Hall. With Douglas’s help, Edwin steps inside the time travel illusion box. He asks Douglas to send him to Paris, where he proposed to Beatrice, the love of his life. When Douglas opens the box, he discovers a note from Edwin that reads, “Our brains, our imaginations, and our souls are not fettered by the limitations of skin, blood, and bones. If you can dream it, you can create it, and you can set yourself free.”

The film concludes with young Edwin strolling the streets of Paris in springtime with his beautiful wife, Beatrice, and their baby boy, Henry.

Submitted: September 3, 2021
Last Updated: September 21, 2021

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The Writer: Holly Autry Jurbergs

If my writing were a song, it would be Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science." If you've never heard of that song, you're probably much younger than me. My love for science and music always informs and influences my writing. After completing a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin in 1996, I worked as an Analytical Chemist in pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical companies. I play piano, and more recently, I have taken up guitar and songwriting. I enjoy writing crime dramas, and I am interested in strong female characters, family secrets, moral dilemmas, and forensic science. If you are a director or producer considering my screenplays, I want you to take my crude... Go to bio

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