It is nine o’clock in the evening; Dr. Rodríguez bids farewell to his last Thursday evening patient. He takes off his white coat and leaves it on the back of a chair at the meeting table at one end of his office. While he loosens his characteristic bow tie, he once again looks around.
Part of his magic wand collection, which already exceeds a thousand, rests impressively on custom-made wand racks. Display cabinets and bookcases, once filled with books on medicine, now exhibit all types of collectors’ items related to magic. Some patients are perplexed as they contemplate the little museum of magic into which the austere psychiatrist office has been transformed over the years. Others do not even notice all that there is behind the display case glass.
Years have passed and the doctor’s two personalities have converged into a single one. There was a time when he did not want to mix the life of a magician with that of a psychiatrist. Now it is easy to read interviews in the national press with Doctor Rodríguez speaking on magic or Conde Ropherman speaking on psychiatry. (“Conde” is the Spanish word for the nobility title, “Earl.”)
Tonight he has a performance with his flea circus at a venue in downtown Madrid. Apart from his magic show, he has presented for some years a complete flea circus, in which the tiny performers undertake astonishing feats, such as jumping into a tank of water from a diving board, riding a bicycle across a tight rope, shooting a penalty at a soccer goal, or lifting a goose feather, among many others. To the sound of the most authentic circus music, Conde Ropherman’s Flea Circus does not allow you to blink an eye, under penalty of missing a single detail of such a refined performance. Dr. Rodríguez changes his physician’s clothing for the suit of a circus trainer that lacks no detail; when he puts on the top hat that completes the attire, the person disappears completely to give way to the character, and the show begins.
In spite of the circus’s great reception, it is only the tip of the iceberg of an artistic career that now spans fifty years: half a century of cabaret, theaters, venues, and events – half a century of magic.
“Where there is a gathering
of more than two magicians,
there I’ll be…”
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