While some students spend their downtime reading, playing on their computers or talking on their cell phones in the atrium of Annenberg Hall, Harrison Lampert will most likely be found surrounded by a crowd of astounded students who are more than willing to pick a card.
Inspired by Bob Little, a magician from Pennsylvania, Lampert has learned to perform tricks of all sorts using anything from cards to coins, and depending on the setting, he might just pull a rope or a few rubber bands out of his jacket.
A native of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Lampert, a theater major, became a member of the Society of Young Magicians when he was 13 years old and is currently a member of the father organization, the Society of American Magicians.
“When people are amazed by his tricks, it’s the best,” said freshman economics major John Timmons, whose favorite trick of Lampert’s is the moving deck trick. “It brings joy to my life.”
Singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” between answering questions, Lampert stressed the importance of the performance aspect of a magic trick.
In addition to his magic act, Lampert has been acting since he was 10 years old, and he said he enjoys singing and would love to take dance courses as well. From doing impressions to juggling, Lampert said he has found his calling in theater.
“[Acting] is fun, and that’s what I want to do with my life,” Lampert said. “I want to look forward to going to work in the future.”
Lampert was not always the life of the party, however. In kindergarten, he hated being in front of people so much that during a performance of The Three Little Pigs, he wouldn’t step on the stage.
“I was so scared,” he said.
Nonetheless, things have changed. Lampert has a natural sense of humor that he carries into his performances these days. He loves performing, but he finds reward in simply being a part of any aspect of the production.
“Behind stage, I’m jumping up and down,” Lampert said. “I think I scare people from how excited I get.”
No matter how people perceive him, Lampert does his best to entertain. He has displayed his magic at birthday parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and competitions like the annual National Magic Conventions in Kentucky and Texas.
He recently performed for the Philadelphia Eagles’ season kick-off party in the presence of some players and company officials.
“He’s going to be famous, I think,” said freshman accounting major Brian Mele, whose favorite trick is the four coin, or half-dollar, trick.
So where does Lampert, whose favorite magician is Lennart Green, a native Swede, get his tricks? He said he learns from books, videos and from tricks done in the past, as well as sometimes creating his own.
“I know more than I can do,” Lampert said. “If I see a trick, I can figure out how it is done.”
It seems as though this magician’s skills and future are limitless, but whatever Lampert’s future holds, his family has been his support system and encouragement from the start.
“In first grade, I wanted to be a bus driver,” Lampert recalled. “My mom said, ‘Well, then you are going to be the most educated bus driver around.’ All the way, everyone supports.”
Lampert and his father even work on magic together sometimes, with his father handling many behind-the-scenes aspects of his performances like setting up the props, operating the curtain and managing the lighting cues. His father used to do magic when he was younger, and Lampert likes to believe he has rekindled his father’s interest.
Lampert hopes to get involved with a Temple Theaters production in the future and is currently working on his magic-free standup comedy act.
“I like making people laugh, and that’s another way of doing it,” Lampert said. “I like to put my foot in everything.”
Keisha Frazier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .