Tag Archives: Luminato 2012

CBC News Interview featuring Richard Turner

18 Jun

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Magic world standoff over tricks of the trade

CBC News  Posted: Jun 16, 2012 12:16 AM ET  Last Updated: Jun 16, 2012 12:15 AM ET

WATCH CBC News interview

Professional magicians dazzle audiences, but in the age of Google and instant answers, might tell-all books and video explainers forever expose what’s up performers’ sleeves?
According to Alex Stone, author of Fooling Houdini and a practising magician who has competed in The Magic Olympics, it’s high time to reveal the magic world’s secrets to the public.
“There’s often as much beauty to the methods, to the ideas behind it, as there is to the tricks themselves,” Stone told CBC’s Eli Glasner.
However, professional practitioners say there are more than just simple tricks to the venerable trade.
“You can go on YouTube and find out the secret, but that doesn’t make you a magician,” said Julie Eng, one of the organizers of the Mind over Matter – Magicana series in Toronto as part of 2012’s Luminato.

Toronto Star reviews ‘From the Dark’

17 Jun
Juan Esteban Varela in From the Dark - Photo by Aaron Harris / for the Toronto Star

JUAN ESTEBAN VARELA | From the Dark
Aaron Harris/For the Toronto Star

The Toronto Star’s staff reporter, Alyshah Hasham, reviews her experience of a magic show in total darkness, by Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela, where even the performer is blindfolded.

Luminato: ‘From the Dark’ — A magic show performed in total darkness

By Alyshah Hasham
Staff Reporter
Jun 16, 2012

Traditional magic tricks are all about the grand reveal.

Before your very eyes, promises the magician, the dove will disappear.

But how do you perform a vanishing trick when your audience is unable to see?

That’s the premise of renowned Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela’s “From the Dark” — a magic show where both magician and the audience are blindfolded.”

Under the fluorescent lights in the lobby of Hart House Theatre I slip on a black blindfold, “surrendering my sight” to Maria Zambrano, the appointed guide for our group of 10.

The reassuring sliver of light around my nose fades as we queue in pairs to enter the darkness of the theatre.

One hand resting on the shoulder in front of us, we shuffle carefully toward Maria’s voice.

The theatre sounds crowded, but when I end up alone for a moment, waiting to be gently herded to my seat, I can’t tell whether the closest person is a foot or 10 feet away. It’s oddly paralyzing.

“If screaming starts we’ll leave,” the optimistic woman on my right tells her friend as we settle in. “For now, let’s embrace the madness.”

It is a magic show after all — though what that entails is the subject of much speculation as we wait in the darkness.

Varela told me earlier in the day that there would be some divination, some card tricks. Oh, and that somehow he’d make something disappear.

In the two years he has been doing this show, he once performed for the King of Spain and his sister Margarita, who has been blind since birth. After the show, she emotionally told him that that was the first time she understood what it meant for something to vanish before.

As I consider this, Maria places a small box on my lap, and tells me to strap it onto my leg.

Inside are various props including cards and a coin. We are all magician assistants in this show it seems.

Finally a hush. Varela speaks. He is sitting on the stage in front of us, he says, himself blindfolded to share this journey.

The theatre is dominated by his voice, which leads us through tricks performed with our own hands and the props from the box. He guesses which hand of a volunteer holds the medallion he gave her, confirmed by its metallic thud when dropped onto a table.

“I don’t want the spectator to have any other explanation,” Varela told me before the show. “They can’t say it happened so fast I didn’t see it. I want them to have no defence for the astonishment. I want the impossible to be a little more impossible.”

It took him 10 years to develop the show, which began as a way to share magic with people who are blind (the Luminato Festival performance is presented in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind).

Over time it became a show for anyone, using blindfolds to allow the performance to take place inside the minds of the audience. That’s why Michael Weber, the director of the Canadian premiere of “From the Dark” ensures the theatre is never seen at all.

For Varela, the challenge is giving up the control of sight, being unable to study the faces of his audience and relying on their vocal cues.

As an illusionist he demands trust from the audience. But when you are all blindfolded, the trust has to go both ways.

And trust me, under your very nose, something does vanish.


Last chance!

Varela is performing this unique experience, From The Dark, as part of the Mind Over Matter magic series for Luminato 2012. Magicana is delighted to be presenting this Canadian premier under the direction of Michael Weber.

The show plays Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto. It lasts 75 minutes with no intermission. Admission is $35. Limited seats available. UofTtix Box Office / 416.978.8849 /www.uofttix.ca

 

Mind Over Matter

14 Mar

Luminato 2012 - Mind over matter

When magicians perform the impossible, they remind us that there are still new worlds to explore and new sensations to experience; that imagination, when coupled with ingenuity, creates both art and science.

For the 2012 Luminato Magic series – Mind Over Matter – we have invited three masters of the impossible – Banachek,Richard Turner and Juan Esteban Varela – to challenge the way we perceive the world and function within it.

Follow us and we will keep you updated on all our shows! For now, see David Ben’s – artistic director for Magicana –  magical video invitation.

The sixth edition of Luminato takes place from June 8–17, 2012. Tickets for all Luminato 2012 programs will be available for sale on April 14. For details, keep an eye on  this blog and you will be the first to know!

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