Anthony Tschirhard, the Mathemagician

La Tribune de Lyon ~ March 28, 2013

There’s Anthony Tschirhard, the brilliant 25-year-old student, and Istar, the illusionist with the fingers of a fairy. The first, with his ideal son-in-law profile, has no rough edges. With his basketball-player frame, nickel-plated suit and doctorate in applied mathematics from INRIA Rhône-Alpes, this PhD student tends to attract jealousy rather than sympathy.

Istar looks strangely like him, but stripped of the rectitude that inhabits the other. And above all, it lends itself better to fantasy, because we’re talking about a magician here. The revelation came to him in the summer of 2005. “A friend showed me a trick that blew my mind. Without a doubt, one of the greatest emotions of my life”, he confides. A simple spark that he nurtured to become the blazing inferno of his passion. Self-taught. it’s by poring over books and videos that he hones his craft. It’s a rigor that he constantly pushes further, because “if the show isn’t meticulous, it’s bound to go wrong. And that’s what makes close-up so much more difficult than a traditional show, which requires a greater sense of improvisation and anticipation”. Close-up? “Close-up magic, the kind he performs in close contact with the audience. And here he is: with a spray of flame escaping from his hand, he makes a deck of cards appear. A master of illusion, he conceals and transforms everything into anything, with the charisma of a seasoned showman. As he admits, “You have to know how to blabber, and constantly adapt to the audience. Staging is essential”.

On his weekends and evenings off, the Lyonnais travels the roads of Eastern France, spreading smiles of wonder and disbelief at private parties. His reputation began to rise, and requests for his services multiplied. He has hosted galas for the Ministry of Justice and the launch of the Peugeot 308. But the ambivalence of his situation weighs heavily on him: “Because I work on the side, people think my shows are amateurish. But it’s a real job that keeps me busier than my main activity. Come to think of it, I’m a magician, and in my spare time I’m doing my thesis. But I wouldn’t like to give up either.”

Gilles Reymann

L’associatif June 10, 2013
Le Progrès November 11, 2012