The Magicians sees three of the magic world’s most successful practitioners do battle across five weeks, in the world of magic’s first competitive competition on UK screens.
Against the stunning backdrop of a specially-created set on Pinewood Studios, each Magician will perform with a different celebrity partner each week; with the three pairs performing illusions from the classic to the never-attempted-before and adapting their respective roles as the challenge or trick dictates.
The Magicians will be pushed to excel beyond their own favoured speciality, be it escapology, illusion or sleight of hand card tricks, as the tournament will throw weekly challenges and themes designed to best test the competitors’ originality, ingenuity and ambition with many large scale stunts set to be attempted.
Just as audiences in theatres have shown their approval or otherwise for the art of illusion through the centuries, only the studio audience will determine which magician is victorious each week and ultimately triumphs across the weeks.
The show is scheduled for January 2011 featuring sleight of hand expert Chris Korn, Luis de Matos, and Barry & Stuart.
There are no judges and no phone lines. The same three magicians battle each week – those that amaze the audience most will win, whereas the pair that receive the least applause will be asked to close the show with an uncomfortable, dangerous or impossible forfeit of a trick that no-one will want to tackle.
In addition, viewers at home will be able to both enjoy and learn interactively via a series of exclusive tricks and step-by-step guides to give budding magicians an introduction to the art.
“Mr. Maric: Cho Majutsu”
By Steve Marshall
Mr. Maric was really going back to nature for his magic props and explains his philosophy this way: “If I had a choice to make some candy appear or make an orange appear, I would choose the orange. This is because, even though it is basically the same effect and I might use the same technique, the orange is a natural object while the candy is man-made. I think people are more amazed, psychologically, if a natural object appears, because it seems more impossible.”
The Matsuo Gentosai spots proved popular and introduced Maric to a younger generation of viewers.
Even during the times when he changed his character for TV, Mr. Maric’s live show continued to tour Japan; his 2010 tour is taking him to fifty different cities across the country. “This year I am concentrating on a more interactive style of magic. Until now, a magic show meant that the audience would just watch the magician do amazing things on the stage. These days, though, with people carrying things like iPhones and other high-tech devices with them, they are experiencing ‘miracles’ in their hands everyday. Because of this, it is getting more and more difficult for me to demonstrate things that truly amaze them. So, in my current tour I want to do more magic together with the audience, letting them experience the magic in their own hands.”
One interactive routine that has long been a staple of his show is his spoon bending effect, as was done on Maric’s first television special. When the audience enters the theater, everyone is given a spoon, and it’s a very surreal moment to later see a theater full of spoons being held up in the air. These are all real spoons and, as on TV, the thing that makes it even more believable is that while many of the spoons do bend, not everyone is able to make it happen.
Because talking is such an important part of his routines, Maric does not usually perform outside of Japan, although he has done specials in Korea and Taiwan using an interpreter. Both shows received high ratings. In Korea, he earned a very high 50 share, which made Mr. Maric instantly famous in that country. And he did have the opportunity to perform in a theater at UCLA six years ago. “The show was advertised in a popular paper that is distributed to the Japanese community in Los Angeles, so we had a very good turnout. But since I performed my show entirely in Japanese to a Japanese audience, I didn’t really feel like I was performing in the USA.”
In 2004, he published a book for magicians. The Golden Arrow Book is made up of 365 of his thoughts on performing magic that he says hit him like “arrows hitting my heart.” The book is currently available only in Japanese. Earlier this year, he also began teaching by way of the Internet, enrolling magicians for a course in which they receive feedback when they upload videos of themselves. The focus is on being able to do magic with everyday items, so they will be able to perform a trick anytime they are asked to. As Maric says, “I feel that a magician should be someone who can do magic anytime with anything that is available. Otherwise, you are just a ‘magic player.’”
At 61 years old, Mr. Maric is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down. Even though he now professes to be “just a magician,” people still ask, “Is what Mr. Maric does real or just a magic trick?” He answers, “A real wizard is just a fairytale, but I would like to create my own effects and never tell the secrets to anyone, not even my family. That is the way one can become as close to a real wizard as a human being possibly can.”
It will be interesting to see what directions Mr. Maric will take his shows in the coming years, and what new characters he may create. No doubt his Cho Majutsu style will keep people talking and he will continue performing magic with ordinary objects, which all started with a simple stone.
Excerpted from “Mr. Maric, Cho Majutsu” by Steve Marshall, MAGIC Magazine, November 2010. Reprinted here by permission. Copyright © Stagewrite Publishing, Inc.