The term “magic spy” might conjure the image of a whimsical Harry Potter–infused James Bond, but in reality, the phrase adds up to good ol’ fashioned industrial espionage. According to the New York Times, magician Derek DelGaudio alleges that two fellow magicians recorded parts of his one-man Off Broadway show, In & of Itself, from the audience, a theater faux-pas that, in the magic community, amounts to theft. “I’m kind of living my childhood fantasy of creating a Willy Wonka factory,” DelGaudio told the paper. “And now we have real-life Slugworths tying to steal our gobstoppers.”
A technician allegedly noticed the furtive use of a smart phone by professional Irish mentalist David Meade on the Daryl Roth Theater’s security monitor. The technician subsequently alerted DelGaudio that his show, which combines storytelling and illusions, might have been filmed. The Times watched a recording of the security video in question and confirms that Meade can be seen pointing his phone at the stage, during which the phone makes a flash “visible on the monitor, which has infrared capability, but apparently not to the naked eye.” However, when approached by the house manager, Meade did not have any footage of the show. “As the usher checked and can attest, I had absolutely zero video, photo or audio recordings from Derek’s show,” Meade told the paper. “I want to be absolutely clear. I categorically refute these claims.” Within a week, DelGaudio alleges that yet another magician filmed the show’s finale; he personally asked the unnamed person to delete their recording. As for his own interpretation of events, DelGaudio himself clearly has no illusions about what happened.