The Illusionist Philipp Oberlohr can Read Your Mind, and he Knows You’re Coming to his Next Show

Baffling and bewildering, illusionist Philipp Oberlohr knows everything about you

As I walked through the 16th district, I suddenly got a queasy feeling. I was on my way to The Game, a performance by illusionist Philipp Oberlohr, but, inexplicably, something felt off. I walked up a narrow staircase to the first floor of an ominous abandoned warehouse, and reached an illuminated hall furnished with nothing but chairs, a makeshift bar and an odd collection of cloth strips at the center of the room. As I was welcomed by a man of medium height wearing a suit and sporting a knowing smile, it finally hit me: I was expected.

This is, of course, exactly what Oberlohr, an Austrian expat who recently returned after years in the U.K., wants you to feel. After flabbergasting Londoners for the last three years with his mental skills – or clever tricks, as some may have it – he recently moved to Vienna and is now performing here in both English and in German. His pay-what-you-can show The Game (€10–€20) is appropriately named; inspired by the eponymous 1997 David Fincher thriller about an investment banker sucked into a strange and unsettling interactive play, it’s a tantalizing but breakneck ride, heavy with audience participation.

Confident and congenial, Oberlohr quickly cast a spell on his audience. “You all,” he told us conspiratorially, “are meant to be here, exactly on this day, at precisely this time.” And as strange as it may sound, we believed him without question. Anxious and keen at the same time, I listened as Oberlohr spelled out the rules of The Game. There really was just one: We had to shout “Game, game, game!” whenever one of us became a part of the proceedings. Oberlohr himself, however, had devised elaborate methods to choose his participants. “Everybody stand up,” he said. “Which of your neighbors looks more interesting?” One of those interesting people would then say a random number and, counting the others still standing, the next player was chosen. Dizzying indeed.

Magically mental

As the evening unfolded, more and more of the audience got sucked into the action. Oberlohr would ask someone to draw whatever crossed their mind on a slip of paper, and then state what they had doodled – blindfolded. He was at pains to point out that none of the participants were actors – or in on the joke. Something I can con rm, as I was chosen to sit on stage and think about my favorite song. “Game, game, game!” Others were told to silently reminisce about their childhood days, plan their holidays or just draw whatever they wanted. And indeed, with uncanny precision, Oberlohr would surmise what we were thinking, hearing or imagining.

Finally, Alors On Danse, the song I had silently focused on for the last 10 minutes, abruptly blasted out of the speakers, and everyone danced. It did indeed feel like I was supposed to be there, at that time, on that evening. Whether that’s true or not, the master illusionist had definitely done an illuminating job.

Nov 15, 20:00, Galerie Die Schöne. 16., Kuffnergasse 7. das-spiel.org

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


 

RECENT Articles

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Austria Issues Travel Warning for Spa...

Here’s all you need to know about current measures and developments, including trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Book Review | Daniel Kehlmann & The Power of Mockery

In Tyll, widely-acclaimed German-Austrian author Daniel Kehlmann reinvents a medieval legend to unmask the fatuity of rulers and the wisdom of tricks.

Why the EU Recovery Fund Is a Big Deal – for Europe & for the Climate

The recent budget-corona negotiations could lead to the creation of a fiscal union and a greater emphasis on sustainability.

Musical Chairs for UK-EU Expats – Grab a Seat Before the Music Stops

As the Brexit negotiations drag on, there is still no final clarity on the future of British citizens living in Europe. It is likely to be reciprocal – whatever that means. With Boris, who knows?

Max Schrems Challenges Facebook and Wins. Again.

European court ruling strikes down the transatlantic data transfer mechanism in a case initiated by the young Austrian data privacy advocate.

Vienna Takes on Airbnb Over Social Housing

After negotiations failed, the city is suing the short-term housing platform over illegal sublets in Gemeindebauten municipal apartments.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.