By Ilaria Cutolo

Last night at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, Master Juggler, and Visual artist Jay Gilligan delivered a truly unique show where illusion, science, and art meet gravity-defying juggling. I was expecting the usual man-juggles-chain saw routine, but instead, I was wowed and couldn’t stop thinking, “What a cool thing this is!”

During juggling sequences that defy comparison, (and I will do my best to describe what I saw) he performed his act with not-so-typical props such as a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, a fan, and a Theremin. Yes, he made music too while utilizing a tool for live looping creating rhythmic, synthesized beats while juggling. Jay moved on set with ease gliding from props of his design to robotic tools he invented. There was also some light audience participation (for us in the front row) with much laughter too. It felt like the show was made just for me, that’s how personable and charming Gilligan is as a performer.

Between sequences that included lots of yarn, glitter, low-fi beats, and cool lighting, Gilligan weaved personal narratives, and the history behind his craft, revealing just how closely space and time connect to his much-loved art of juggling. At one point he mentioned that his goal for the night was to take juggling to a whole other dimension, explaining as Carl Sagan once did to his wife, that it may not make sense to us now, but it will in a million years. Well, I believe he succeeded in doing just that. He took what we all know as “simply” juggling and quite literally turned it on its head (or on his head)! I suddenly felt like taking a juggling class because he makes it look THAT cool.

Gilligan’s passion for his art is contagious.  Without giving too much away, I left this show feeling moved and fascinated by what humans can achieve. A show like this is just the magic medicine for the soul that we need right now. I highly recommend checking this out while it’s still around.  Go see this show!

REFLEX runs now through October 22  – Oct 11-22 with performances on Oct 18-21 at 7pm, Oct 14 & 21 at 4pm & 7pm, and Oct 15 & 23 at 2pm & Baruch Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. 55 Lexington Ave. NY, NY. 646-312-1000 . U.S. Tour Oct. 11- Nov. 19.

WITH: Jay Gilligan (performer, writer); Captain Frodo Santini (writer, co-director); Josh and Lyndsay Aviner (creative producer, co-director).

U.S. Tour Schedule

October 11–22, 2023, Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, NY

November 3, 2023, Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, MI

November 6–8, 2023, Straz Center, Tampa, FL

November 11, 2023, The Jones Center, Springdale, AR

November 13, 2023, Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA

November 15, 2023, Madison Circus Space, Madison, WI

November 19, 2023, The Berman Center for the Performing Arts, West Bloomfield, MI