I'm writing this from my dressing room in Macau, which is also going to be my home for the next three months (mainly Macau, but to a large extent the dressing room too). I'm here on a contract with the House of Magic, a new $40 million custom-built magic venue in the Studio City hotel/casino.
The House of Magic is an unusual operation. It's not a show so much as an interactive multi-show experience. It begins when the audience enter the foyer area ("The Lab"), which is decked out with all manner of magic-related artifacts. It's also populated by The Illusioneer (me, for the next three months) who greets the crowd and performs magic with them for the first 25 minutes as they arrive.
The Illusioneer then gets up on to a raised platform, greets the crowd as a whole, performs a short larger-scale magic routine (including vanishing a member of the audience into a huge teleporter machine built in to the room), and briefs everyone on what's going to happen next.
Specifically, the crowd now splits in half and files in to two separate 150-seat theatres. Each group watches a 15-minute magic show, and then swaps theatres to see the other show. Then the entire audience enters the final 300-seat theatre to watch the Franz Harary "Mega Magic" illusion stage spectacular, and exits through the gift shop.
The whole experience lasts about 90 minutes, and repeats three times per night. The acts rotate on 3-to-6 month intervals, and I'm contracted for the part of the Illusioneer until April 9th. So if you find yourself in Macau, you could do a lot worse than to come check out what I'm doing in one of the newest - and definitely the most expensive - magic venues in the world.
I was pretty trepidatious going in to this contract. It's going to be a huge amount of work, in a relatively isolated environment, performing to a challenging culture mix (audience dynamics in Greater China can be very different to ones in the west), at a time when I was just starting to settle into life in Los Angeles.
However, it was also way too big an opportunity to pass up. It's a chance to rack up an unmatched amount of performing experience, workshop a huge amount of material, and cash some solid regular paychecks in the tumultuous and sometimes highly unreliable world of professional showbiz.
(Photo by Flickr user Diego Delso, licensed under CC-BY-2.0)
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