L'événement culturel de l'été à Bruxelles!
Plot (Michael Crawford)
The original production of EFX featured a loose plot involving the celebration the human mind. The EFX Master, in charge of EFX, a world where "anything is possible" thanks to imagination, invites the audience to relive their childhood innocence and wonder by taking them on a journey through four different stories: those of Merlin and King Arthur, a futuristic P.T. Barnum and his alien circus, the last days of Harry Houdini, and H.G. Wells' classic novel, The Time Machine. Each story was its own "act," and was introduced by a "helper" of The EFX Master's based upon their "mastership" of that story's over-all theme.
After being introduced to the world of EFX, The EFX Master transforms himself into Merlin as The Master of Magic tells us that we're about enter the time of a young Arthur, before he became king. Arthur begs Merlin to teach him about magic, and Merlin explains that Arthur first needs to learn how to live in harmony with nature. Their lesson is interrupted by the arrival of the witch Morgana, who seeks to kill Arthur to keep him from fulfilling his destiny of becoming king. Merlin and Morgana duke it out as giant dragons in a fiery on-stage battle before Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and defeats the evil sorceress. We're left with the message that "good must triumph always."
The Master of Laughter then sends us deep into outer space where we meet up with The EFX Master, now P.T. Barnum, and his crazy alien circus. Mishaps and hilarity abound as the intergalactic ensemble perform, and, led by the assistant Vladimir, eventually try to upstage the ringmaster Barnum. This act of the show is the one that was the most re-written. It originally featured a long, innuendo-laced solo-stand-up act by Barnum that included a mind-reading trick involving playing cards and audience participation, an evade-the-blade stunt with the ill-fated Martian Mingo-Sniffer named Muffy, and a juggling act using the cannon balls of Bull Run. The card trick was quickly cut from the show (probably due to poor reception from the audience), and Bull Run was reworked to become part of a human cannon ball stunt, which gets botched up nicely by Vladimir. Barnum was also supposed to dance the entire Irish Jig with the cast, but a hip injury sustained during one of the many stunts left Michael Crawford unable to dance for long, and the number was re-staged to feature just the ensemble performing The Jig while Barnum tries in vain to catch Vladimir in an effort to stop his assistant from upstaging him.
After leaving The Intergalactic Circus of Wonders, The Master of Spirits appears and asks us if we wish to make contact with the other side. We're then brought to a seance led by Bess Houdini in which she asks to speak to the spirit of her dead husband, the famous illusionist Harry Houdini. The EFX Master, as Houdini, appears, and he and Bess reunite briefly to relive various moments of their past, starting with the night that they first met at one of Houdini's escapes. Upon being reminded of Harry's dangerous career, a disillusioned Bess asks Houdini if he ever really loved her, or if his feelings were really an illusion like his many tricks: "Did you just make me believe that you loved me and not even care enough to stay alive?" We then see Houdini's death, drowning in a water tank before freeing himself from his chains, and Houdini tells Bess that "There's nothing here on Earth that is stronger than the love that I have for you. I only wish I learned that sooner." They then say their goodbyes, promising to be reunited again someday.
The final act is introduced by The Master of Time, who asks us if we're brave enough to see what the years ahead have in store for us. He takes us to see The EFX Master, who has now become H.G. Wells. Wells expresses his amazement that his novel The Time Machine has been so enthusiastically received by the public, and goes on to explain that his own personal interest in the story lies in the scientific possibility of actually traveling through time for research purposes. He's even built a real time machine, but is hesitant to use it, citing the "effects on future generations not yet shaped. It could be dangerous." The Master of Time urges him to "take the journey you've always dreamed of," adding that sometimes the risks are worth it. Wells agrees, and uses the time machine to enter the far-distant future, an effect achieved though a 3D music video projected onto a scrim during the scene change. Wells arrives in a beautiful garden to find that the surviving human population has been enslaved by a race of reptilian-like creatures, the Morlocks, who force the humans to work underground. The Morlocks steal the time machine while Wells befriends one of the female slaves who managed to escape. Together, Wells and the slave girl enter the underground caves to free the other slaves and take back the time machine. After successfully defeating The Morlocks, the slave girl tries to persuade Wells into taking her back with him. He refuses and she kisses him (note that, albeit briefly, this is the only time that the song Somewhere in Time is heard other than during the pre-show). Moved by the kiss, and an earthquake, Wells agrees to let the slave girl join him, and together they travel back to his own time.
The EFX Master then appears one final time, this time as himself, and with the entire cast, he praises the human imagination and encourages us to continue to create incredible tales and believe in ourselves and our capacity for creation. We're asked to open ourselves up to infinite possibilities.
Plot (David Cassidy Version - 1997)
The original plot from the 1995 production was rewritten by David Cassidy and Bill Wray, who thought that the audience would better appreciate a more "coherent" story with a logical plot progression. The resulting book focused on David the Bus Boy, a character that it was felt the audience would identify with more, rather than an EFX Master who ruled a world of dreams. The darker, more serious themes of the show were also cut and replaced by more humorous elements, particularly those that poked fun at The Master of Time.
The show opens with The EFX Master (now a holographic projection of James Earl Jones' face) instructing The Masters of Magic, Laughter, Spirit, and Time to find a human who has "lost their imagination" and bring them to EFX. The Masters discover David, a disenchanted bus boy who's serving drinks in the audience. David reveals that he's lost something in his life since losing his love Laura (an audience member selected by the cast before every performance). The Masters tell him that they'll help him regain that lost part of himself, and find Laura, if he's willing to go on a journey to do so. David agrees, and The Master of Magic turns him into King Arthur.
Merlin explains that magic is in nature and is accessible by everyone. Arthur is skeptical until Morgana arrives and engages Merlin in a wizard's duel. Just when it seems that Merlin is about to lose the battle, Arthur understands the lesson that the old wizard was trying to teach him, and pulls the sword from the stone to defeat Morgana. With his belief in the impossible and the power of imagination restored, David is sent on the next part of his journey.
David becomes P.T. Barnum, the ringmaster of The Intergalactic Circus of Wonders (whose theme song of the same name is now an overly-long rap performed by One Spirit). Barnum performs with the circus, and in the process, rediscovers his sense of humour and ability to have a good time. As the circus comes to an end, Barnum spots Laura in the audience, but she's whisked away before he can get to her. He has no choice but to continue on...
Wondering if Laura might be in the spirit world, David becomes Harry Houdini. He fails to find Laura, but Houdini and his wife Bess are briefly reunited and relive some of his greatest escapes before he has to perform one more daring feat: escaping from the spirit world before The Master of Spirits traps him there for all eternity. Houdini escapes, and now remembering what it's like to love, continues his quest for Laura.
David's final part of his journey requires him to travel through time. After having a humorous go at the light-hearted Master of Time, David becomes H.G. Wells and travels into the far distant future. Upon his arrival, he discovers that Laura has been kidnapped by the monsterous creatures known as The Morlocks, and is being held captive, along with other humans, in the Morlocks' underground caverns. Wells enlists the help of two slaves who managed to escape, and together, they defeat The Morlocks and free Laura and the others. Laura and Wells then return to the present time where the cast presents Laura, who is played by an audience member, with flowers for her participation in the show. David, now reunited with his long-lost love and filled with a new-found joy for life, reflects on his adventure and celebrates with the cast while encouraging the audience to embrace all the wonders life has to offer.
Plot (Tommy Tune Version - 1999)
Due to the constant changes made to EFX since its debut in 1995, the internet saw a drastic decline in fan sites, especially those reporting the details of EFX and its story. Very little is publicly known about the details of the 1999 plot except that it was a somewhat more serious show than the David Cassidy version and that it showcased Tommy Tune's legendary dance skills. There was also a reported emphasis on dreams, with the line "Wake up and dream!" becoming the unofficial slogan.