1 - How did you get into magic? What was the first click?
Audiences love to be entertained by a charismatic gentleman, and Montreal magician Magic Tom Auburn was the ultimate example. Tom treated his audiences and volunteers with great respect and he entertained with kindness. I was seven years old when I first met Magic Tom at a local restaurant, and I remember that he gave me goosebumps when he produced an egg from behind my ear. A few years later I watched Tom perform a miracle with coloured handkerchiefs (20th Century Silks) on television, and I still remember where I was standing as I witnessed this feat. This was a turning point for me and I decided that I wanted to become a magician.
2 - When have you taken the first step and how did you learn?
I performed my first professional show for $5 at a friend’s birthday party as “Magic Ted”. I was 12 years old. The experience was both terrifying and exciting. I began my performance with the 20th Century Silks. I vanished a handkerchief and it reappeared tied between two others. Five minutes later the vanished handkerchief re-appeared hanging out of the back of my jacket! Oops!
The local library was my main source of information and I took out every book on magic I could find, more than once. I practiced tirelessly in front a mirror and then tested my new material out in front of friends and family.
3 - What are the opportunities or people who have helped you? In contrast, an event that stopped you?
I started working at the Morrissey Magic store in Montreal at the age of 15 and it was paradise for a young magician! I learned so much from owners Richard Olsen and Herb Morrissey. My duties included cleaning dove pans and cups (which the company manufactured), turning Zombie gimmicks, printing and binding books, and of course demonstrating tricks behind the counter. I had the great privilege of meeting and getting to know most of the local Montreal magicians as well as touring professionals like Jeff McBride, Derek Dingle and Geoffrey Buckingham.
I would not be where I am today without my partner and my wife, Marion, who is a professional dancer. We have been together for 15 years and her passion for life and for our show inspire me on a daily basis. We have surrounded ourselves with a fabulous team of people who help us make our fusion of magic, dance, and theatre happen. Our Lighting Designer, Illusion Technician, Set Designer, Choreographer, Creative Consultant and Graphic Designer are all critically important to what we do.
I always hope that the phone will ring and something huge will happen spontaneously to take us to the next level, but this has never really happened. My career has been a series of small steps up the ladder. I have learned that nobody will make it happen for me so I must make it happen for myself! I try to learn from my mistakes. If I learn from a mistake then I see it as something positive. Setbacks are a part of life but no matter what happens we just keep on going.
4 - Under what conditions do you work?
Our show, OUTERBRIDGE – Clockwork Mysteries was designed to be performed in a theatre for adult and family audiences, although we also perform at a few corporate events and the occasional casino each season. When I am not marketing, creating and managing our show, we are on tour. We tour for about five months of the year. A typical day on the road can be a travel day, a media day with television, newspaper and radio appearances, or a show day which involves an eight-hour set-up in the theatre, a 90 minute performance and two hours to strike our show.
5 - What are the performances of magicians and artists who have marked you?
I have been inspired by a diverse range of art forms from magic and dance to music and motion pictures. In the magic world I have been moved by the performances and creations of Dereck Dingle, David Acer, Magic Tom Auburn, David Copperfield, Eugene Burger, Kalin and Jinger, Jim Steinmeyer Nicholas Knight, Penn and Teller, Mac King and Peter Samuelson. Music has a big impact on how and what I perform, everything from The Who to Rimsky-Korsakov and Engelbert Humperdinck. Despite many protests, I sing “Quando” during our sound check! The arts of filmmaking and dance also provides much inspiration.
6 - What are the styles of magic that attracts you?
I enjoy watching any magician who can deliver an experience of wonder, not just a puzzle or a trick but an experience that I care about.
7 - What are your artistic influences?
I believe that magic should come from the heart, not a magic store catalogue, so I draw my inspiration from day-to-day life. I design and build most of my illusions and I look for visual stimulation from architecture, garden design, fine furniture, fine music, set design, lighting design, anything beautiful and moving.
8 - What guidance advised for a beginner magician?
Perform whenever you can. No matter what happens, good or bad, you will learn something. No learning is ever wasted. Try things that scare you. Videotape your performances. Be your own worst critic. Congratulate yourself. Remember that no matter what you do, some people will love it and some will hate it. Nobody can make everybody happy all the time.
Make notes. Script your performances so you have a reference point and you can improve. Never stop caring. Look for feedback. Listen to feedback but don’t follow it blindly. Behave like the person you want to be. You are the product, so take good care of yourself. Look to other forms of entertainment for inspiration. Surround yourself with good people. Don’t just try to fool people; give your magic some meaning, strive to give your audience goosebumps, move them and make them care about what you are doing, and… drink lots of water.
9 - What is your view on the current magic?
Magic is one of the most ancient art forms and it can be worthy of the term art. There are lots of brilliant, talented magicians around who have the courage to try new ideas and who are helping to advance magic into the future.
10 - What is the importance of culture in the approach of magic?
I believe that as magicians, we should strive to deliver an experience that leaves a lasting impact on our audiences, long after the final curtain comes down. To connect with his or her audience, a magician must present material that matters to people, so an understanding of the local culture is imperative. I use approaches that are well-understood by, and have resonance to, the culture I am performing for, whether it be English Canada, Québec and French Canada, Bermuda or Germany.
11 - Your hobbies besides magic?
I like beautiful things. I collect stone lithographs of magic’s past masters and antique furniture. I enjoy architecture, lighting my house inside and out (it’s all about lighting!), music, gardening, running and a fine glass of wine.