Mentalist Santiago Michel has a very important show debuting at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood this spring. He’s the first artist on the strip to have a residency that’s performed entirely in Spanish.
His show, Ilusión Mental, is a long time coming, both as a milestone in Michel’s career and for Hispanic magic. Born in Mexico City, Michel’s first exposure to magic was at his sixth birthday party and he’s been performing himself since age 13. He trained at the Moscow Art Theater School in Russia and has performed all over the world.
Jarret Keene, a writer for the website Vegas Seven, profiled Michel and saw a preview of Ilusión Mental. Even though Keene knows very little Spanish, he said he was able to follow the act. Michel focuses on mind reading-style mentalism that can reveal surprising personal information about guests, such as the name of the first person they kissed.
“Halfway through the show, I want the audience to remain a bit skeptical,” Michel told Keene. “I want them to wonder if there are ‘plants’ in the show.”
Bringing a Spanish-language-only show to Vegas seems like a great development. In a 2012 survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish was the primary language spoken at home for 38.3 million people in the United States. Given Las Vegas’ international reputation, having shows performed in languages other than English makes sense. And as Keene noted, speaking the language isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying the show. Magic is an international and intercultural art form, and creating wonder doesn’t necessarily need words.