It only took an hour after watching a magician perform a card trick for Erik Dobell ‘05 to learn a trick of his own. He doesn’t remember the exact card trick, but he does remember who exposed his technique, which only made him want to get better.
“After I mastered my first trick I began performing small magic tricks at bars in Ithaca, N.Y., and for my very patient friends,” said Erik. “My passion for magic hit me quick and hard.”
Erik, a Gatlinburg, Tennessee-based mentalist and magician hosts the live show Impossibilities, where he mainly performs Mentalism. According to Erik, Mentalism is the illusion of possessing psychic powers.
“You will see me read the minds of several people in the audience, predict the future, or perform feats of psychokinesis,” said the Elmira, N.Y. native. “I’m not a psychic, but by the end of the show you may think I am.”
The goal of Erik’s show is not to scare people, or to fool the audience with his tricks, but to leave them questioning what they experienced for years to come. Much like a catchy song in a musical, he wants people to replay his performance over and over again.
Erik went to Southside High School before enrolling in the theatre program at SUNY Corning Community College. For someone who wasn’t ready to leave home, SUNY CCC offered him convenience and an opportunity to find his niche. He quickly discovered his love for performing.
“I enjoy the attention and any performer who denies that is either lying or insane,” said Erik. “But on a deeper level, I think it’s an honor to be able to perform my magic for people and to make them feel good and laugh for an hour or two.”
SUNY CCC offered him real-world experience when Professor Mary Guzzy and the rest of the theatre faculty brought professional NYC actors to campus to assist on the set of their Hamlet production.
“I have a lot of fond memories of the theatre program and the shows we produced with the help of Mary Guzzy,” said Erik. “It’s where my love of performing really began.”
Mary describes Erik as funny and fearless and though it’s been years since he was her student she still remembers all of his performances.
“I knew from the first time Erik auditioned for a play with a Johnny Cash song he was destined for show business,” said Mary. “He had the discipline, dedication and love for performing that someone in a creative field must have to succeed.”
Erik credits all of the professors at SUNY CCC for helping him with more than just academics. They taught him how to form his own thoughts, to ask questions, and to build relationships.
Erik has built a client list that includes the NFL, Goodyear and Macy’s. He performs for corporate events and private parties during the year. While he attributes some of his success to luck, he acknowledges the dedication it took to get his own show.
“Success in show business is about 90% luck and 10% hard work, but that 10% is really, really hard,” said Erik. “At the end of the day it’s all worth it if you can wake up happy with who you are and what you’re doing.”