As with all of his shows, the trick is carried out in a tremendously dramatic manner, complete with music, lighting, theatrical movements and a few stage hands to assist him with the trickery. The audience watch as David lowers himself into the box, and his assistants are seen ‘bolting’ him down to the box so he supposedly cannot move. He is then concealed within the box and the saw is lowered. We expect to just see the saw going through the wooden box, but at the last moment, the box is collapsed to show the saw appearing to slice through his actual torso. Next the assistants wheel the two halves of David around and we see the feet begin to wiggle – spooky! The two tables are then moved back together and we see the saw go back up through his severed body, and he returns back inside the chest for a minute to then dramatically make his reappearance as a whole body. How did he do it?!
The Magic Revealed
This is another illusion that people have been performing for years and years, but what makes Copperfield’s performance stand out is a) the fact that his body is not hidden by the box like most people are during the act, and b) his natural showmanship and obvious talent for entertaining. As this trick is so old, many people already know the magic behind it, but we shall reveal it to you nonetheless. When we see David lay down on his stomach in the box and the walls of the box are raise to conceal him, he quickly tucks his legs beneath his stomach and an assistant’s legs replace where his were in the straps. The assistant is laying on their back with their legs bent in the air, with their upper body obscured in the table, similarly to David and his lower half. The body then appears to be one whole, and the blade is judiciously positioned to miss both bodies and go through the slight gap between them. The trick must be carried out in perfect timing in order for it to be pulled off, and Copperfield does this flawlessly.
David Copperfield, real name David Seth Kotkin, is an American illusionist and magician born to a Jewish family in 1956. Copperfield is one of the highest grossing and most famous lone entertainers in the world, ranking him number 20 in the highest earning celebrities in the world. His success started early, becoming the youngest person ever to join the ‘Society of American Magicians’ at age 12. Later on in his teens, he began teaching a magic course at New York University. Copperfield has been performing his illusions since 1974 and still continues to sell out shows, and when he is not performing, he spends his time managing the series of Bahamian islands he owns.