FACE OFF by Mark Setteducati

Written by John Teo

This is a mathematical oddity based on what Martin Gardner dubbed as the “Principle of Conceled Distribution”.  Many variations have appeared based on works by Sam Loyd, Theodore DeLand, Paul Curry, Mel Stover and Masao Atsukawa.  Many magicians have also tried to turn it into a magic trick.  In my opinion, none is as successful and as clever as “Face Off” by Mark Setteducati.

Mark is a magician as well as an inventor of magic, illusions, games and puzzles.  He was featured in the PBS series “Inventors” in 2013.  We know him best as the co-creator of the hardcover interactive magic book entitled “Magic Show”, together with Anne Benkovitz.  This book is now a much sought after collector’s item.

In effect, a small frame measuring 14.5 cm X 11.0 cm is displayed.  It features a picture inside it showing 6 human faces.  The picture is made up of 3 transparent plastic pieces.  The entire frame itself has an clear acetate overlay attached to it so that the pieces do not fall off the frame prematuredly. 

The audience counts and confirms there are 6 faces on the picture.  The clear acetate sheet is lifted up and each of the 3 pieces is taken out for examination.  A spectator inspects each piece to ensure that the same picture appears on both sides since the plastic is transparent throughout.  She also ensures that the picture cannot be changed or wiped off each of the 3 plastic pieces. 

When she is satisfied that everything is alright, the 3 pieces are put back into the frame.  Mysteriously, the picture now shows not 6, but only 5 faces.  One face has mysteriously disappeared, and there seems to be no explanation for it! 

You receive the product ready for performance.  It is very well manufactured by Ton Onosaka of MagicLand, Japan.  Included is a sheet of written instructions by Seo Magic of USA.

Ton has provided a piece of the “missing man”.  With this extra item, you can make the missing person re-appear from underneath the frame, indicating that the person has penetrated the frame.  You can slso make the “missing man” re-appear in some impossible location.

If you do walk-around magic, this piece of novelty never fails to interest the audience.  Since the pieces are transparent, the vanish of a face is really quite magical, and there appears to be no explanation for it.  (8/10 star rating)