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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
December 5, 2017

7 Things You Might Not Know About Being an Illusionist


Have you ever watched an illusionist perform and wondered how the tricks were done? Well, Jason Bishop can't reveal his secrets, but, in honor of his latest show Believe in Magic, he wanted to share with you seven facts about life as a professional magician. 
 
Jason BishopIt's important to have a LOT of interests. One thing I really love about being a magician is that I'm able to use all of my (many) hobbies in my illusions. I get to use physics, electronics, chemistry, video editing and even animal training. It's important to become both a jack of all trades and a master of all trades so you can have a rich background to pull from to surprise and delight your audience. 

Performing is the fun part. Being in front of an audience and sensing that they're totally with you is one of my favorite feelings in the world. But sometimes, it's a challenge just to arrive at the gig. There was one time that I traveled for over 24 hours to get to Australia and needed to immediately perform the very same night I arrived. Entertainers miss holidays, weddings, birthdays and every other special event in the calendar. It can be a drag, but when I entertain an audience that is fully invested in the magic, it's all worth it. 

There's a lot of travel. Kim, Gizmo and I are all from Pennsylvania, but we've been fortunate enough to travel to France, China, the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia and Hawaii. I can't begin to count the number of fascinating people I've met and the amazing places I've visited. Every day, I'm thankful for all of the incredible venues who've booked us around the world.

You're the most popular person at a party. People I meet are equal parts entertained and intrigued by what I do. When someone requests a trick, it's usually one of the two most popular requests—making a million dollars appear or making their spouse disappear. Let it be known, I've never taken either request. When I'm eating, people usually ask "So, how are you making all that food vanish?"

Jason BishopYou have to hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time. A magician knows how a trick is done, but also what the illusion should look like. A part of me totally believes that I'm floating an object in the air, but another part of me is thinking intently about the mechanics of the illusion.

There are lots of different types of magic. In magic, there are large stage illusionists who accomplish enormous tricks. On the flip side, close up magicians with very small, fine illusions perform equally complex feats that can only be seen by a few people. There's also comedy magic and mentalism, where the performer seems to read people's minds. Like right now you're thinking...is Jason a mentalist? The answer is no, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. 

Magic crosses cultural and language boundaries. No matter where I perform an illusion, whether it's in China or in Norway, people respond in the exact same way because smiles, gasps and laughs are all universal. There's nothing like knowing you've amazed a person when you can't speak the same language. A big reason why I chose this career is because magic is one of the only things that can easily cross those barriers and bring people together.

Photos: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
 
Jason Bishop Thumb Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but this show is so delightful! Back by popular demand after last season's sold-out run, Jason Bishop returns with even more tricks (and wry one-liners) up his sleeve. Get your tickets to Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic today!
 
 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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