“They thought I was a stripper when I stepped out.”
It was a private show to an audience of girls ranging in age from 18 and up in Kalamazoo last April, and it ended up being his favorite show, despite the ominous beginning. Ottorino Schincariol, a Paw Paw freshman, has been forging a new identity for himself since high school.
He’s a magician, and his name is Trino. His logo is a tree crossed out with a bold red “x,” hinting at the comedic element his shows often contain. He has a flair for large illusions and grand escapes and also breathes fire, but there are moments where his shows get personal.
During one of his favorite tricks, Trino has an audience member take a card out of a deck and sign it, and despite multiple placements throughout the deck and in the playing card box, the signed card always ends up back in the participant’s hand.
When it’s a woman, he also asks her to write her phone number on the card.
“It’s a joke. I don’t mean it; it just lightens up things,” Trino said.
People rarely do it. This one did. She also accepted his call. Her name was Ashley. They’re still together to this day.
It’s fitting in a way. Trino started doing magic for a single reason in 7th grade. He wanted to talk to girls.
“I thought it would be a good icebreaker,” Trino said. “I just wanted to talk to girls, just to talk to them. I was never a good athlete or something like that.”
It’s more than that now. It’s a passion. The ability to stand on a stage and do something nobody else can do, there’s nothing else like it, Trino said.
“It’s dark out, so you don’t get to see a lot of people,” Trino said. “But, you can hear their jaws hit the floor. You just feel everybody freaking out.”
Over the summer, he performed roughly two shows per week in his hometown. He’s also met and performed for a fair share of celebrities, including Gov. Rick Snyder, Jerry Mitchell, the choreographer of Kinky Boots and Jason Babin, defensive end for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He’s known throughout the state. He hopes to perform in Las Vegas after he leaves Central Michigan University.
His time at CMU has not been as active. He currently does not have any shows lined up for the university, although he has approached Program Board about possibly doing a show.
“I just need someone to come up to me, say, ‘Hey, we’re interested in you doing a show, this is how much we can give you,’” Trino said. “We’ll work out a date.”
He didn’t start out this big, but his road to success was quick. His first trick involved three pieces of rope of different sizes, and by the end of the trick, they were identical. For his 7th grade middle school talent show, he did a handcuff escape; he was locked in handcuffs and ankle cuffs and trapped in a large cardboard box. It went well, but he wasn’t pleased.
“What was I thinking? That wasn’t that good of a trick,” Trino said.
In 8th grade, he went for something much more momentous: He was going to saw somebody into three separate pieces. When the applause hit, he was a changed man.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is something I want to do for the rest of my life,’” Trino said.
Upon hitting 9th grade, Trino said his view of magic had completely changed. It wasn’t just a hobby or a thrill – it was a performance.
“(When) I was trying to come up with something (for) my junior year talent show, I decided I wanted to make a motorcycle appear,” Trino said. “I told my tech director, and he said, ‘I don’t think we can do that,’ but after a couple of rehearsals, we got it all polished out and it worked out great. That was the moment I arrived, to other magicians and everybody in my town.”
Trino is currently working to perfect a number of other magic tricks. He’s practicing levitating a table and working on perfecting a comedic straightjacket escape routing. But magic, Trino said, isn’t just about illusions or tricks; it’s about a connection with the audience.
“Magic is an art form that needs to draw some emotion,” Trino said. “It needs to leave them thinking.”