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A Field Guide to Charlatans


WELLINGTON, 22 November 2013 As part of the 2014 New Zealand Fringe Festival, magician Mike Kmiec enters the world of charlatans, swindlers, cheats, and con artists to explore the truth behind the First Century Roman saying Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur (‘The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived’). His new show, A Field Guide to Charlatans, appears from 27 February to 1 March 2014 at Wellington’s Fringe Bar.

“Though nobody likes being lied to,” says Kmiec. “I think we’re hardwired to accept and perhaps enjoy deception. Even subterfuge that lacks subtlety has some level of entertainment value."

Written, directed, and performed by Kmiec, A Field Guide to Charlatans takes the audience through the various types of deceivers, from mountebank to magician from advertiser to politician. A work that’s part history lesson and part cautionary tale, it weaves a story of illgotten gain that’s fun for the whole family (provided the family are carnies).

“The consummate grifter uses the same techniques used by magicians for centuries psychology, attention direction, sleightofhand in order to profit rather than merely entertain. The person asking you to pick a card could just as easily be picking your pocket,” Kmiec says. “This is an opportunity for people to understand a bit more about how these things work together. You might not learn to beat the hustle, but at least you might learn why you were hustled."

Based in Wellington, Kmiec is an obsessive hobbyist and researcher in the world of magic. In 2013, he produced and performed The Secrets of Magicians in the New Zealand Fringe Festival. He is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California and the Secretary of the Wellington Magic Club.

A Field Guide to Charlatans premières at the Fringe Bar in Wellington during the 2014 New Zealand Fringe Festival. It opens 27 February and runs through 1 March 2014, at 10pm. Entry is free, but donations are welcome.


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