MAGIC FESTIVAL – Cross over into the world of wonder

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As the Gibraltar International Magic Festival comes back this month (20th-26th), we sat down with Jordan Lopez, the organizer and director of the event:

Why bring magic to Gibraltar?

It’s been a passion of mine since I was a child. The world of magic and circus has always intrigued me and made me want to be a part of it. When the circus used to come to town years ago I would spend all my time around it and I would try to find out as much as possible about the acts and workings of it. I would record every magic show I could on VHS and watch it back hundreds of times. My grandfather would always keep a look out and record anything he could for me too. Magic has never left me; it gives you a sense of escape from our world, it lets you express yourself. People’s faces reacting to what’s happening on the stage is what it’s really all about.

This event means everything to me, in fact, the show gives me the most sleepless nights just because I try to give it my all. Is it a business? Not at all, we don’t make a penny from this show but that’s the only way we can make it the best show possible. I wish this festival helps a magic community grow on the Rock, slowly but surely, it will happen.

Isn’t it just for kids?

It’s a show for everyone but yes, we do get a lot of kids on our shows and that’s fine, but slowly people are seeing that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy our shows; they are made with everyone in mind. Every year we get more adults attending and that’s really good to see. We sometimes suffer from magic is just for kids but no, it’s for everyone, from 1 to 100. I always tell people; if you come to our shows trying to find out how it’s done then you will never feel what magic is. Let yourself go and cross over into this world of wonder. I guarantee you will have an incredible time.

What we can expect this year:

Hector is Magic

Who is Hector is Magic?

I’m a guy from Seville who fell in love with magic at the early age of eight. I’ve constantly worked on my craft; learning new skills, practicing for as many hours as there are in a day, developing new acts and just falling more and more in love with this art form. I’m very lucky to be able to travel the world performing my shows on TV, theatres and cruise ships.

What brought out the magic in Hector?

As a child, I was on holiday with my family in Malaga and one of the evenings, we went to see the hotel show. It was one by illusionists from La Linea – ‘The Magic of Eliseo & Jennifer’. I was already madly in love with magic and this show just blew my mind away. It was there and then when I told my parents: “I want to be a magician”.

My parents spoke to Eliseo after the show and he provided us with some contacts for magic schools in Seville (Google wasn’t around so I really depended on his goodwill to send me the details) and I started learning magic every week at the Magician’s Society. And here comes the truly magical part of the story. At 18, I would be working professionally as a magician at ‘Isla Magica’. One evening there was a man in the audience who looked familiar. It was a very special moment when I realised it was Eliseo! Thanks to him I’d started this journey ten years earlier. It was a very special re-encounter.

Tell us what it’s like to be a magician travelling on cruise ships?

It’s been the most amazing journey. Over the past ten years doing this, I’ve met wonderful people, visited more than 50 countries and even learned new languages!

It’s very varied – sometimes I fly in and out from where the ship is staying or I stay on board a few weeks. It’s amazing to perform for 2,000 people in state of the art floating theatres! It’s great to be performing for audiences from all over the world while travelling and expanding my mind and enriching my culture.

What are the challenges; can’t always be easy, can it?

When travelling so much and so often, many things happen. For example, sometimes I arrive at my destination but the show equipment doesn’t. Other times my flights are cancelled and you just have to be imaginative because the show must go on. Many things can happen, and some can only happen on cruise ships…

I was once performing an act where I get locked inside a vertical box, with my feet, arms and head outside and, in that position, I cut myself in half. That night, we were sailing through a very rough sea and the ship was rocking a lot. The ship tilted sideways for a short while and my box started rolling off the stage (remember, I’m locked inside!). People yelled. Luckily, a stagehand was able to stop it before I would have been cut in half forever. The lesson was learnt and all my props now have wheel locks.

It’s not your first time in Gibraltar?

I’ve been to Gibraltar many times – some just visiting, some embarking or disembarking from a cruise, but my favourite is always when I get to perform on the Rock. It’s been a few years since I was last on stage in Gibraltar and I cannot wait to get on stage to enjoy some fun times sharing my magic with everyone here.

I’m also looking forward to chatting to its wonderful people again. I meet many Gibraltarians on cruises and they are always very complimentary and visit me backstage. It’s also a small world and some have even seen me perform before in Gibraltar! I’m really looking forward to being back.

Alana

What made you become a magician?

I grew up surrounded by magic because my parents are illusionists too. My first time on stage was on my fifth birthday and magic was always a natural thing for me. For most people, magic is a hobby first and then it might become a job. For me, it was the other way round: magic was a job and later it became a hobby too so I started inventing illusions.

What is the appeal of magic for you?

Magic is a way of expressing myself and showing the audience who I am. I’m not playing a role on stage; I am an exaggerated version of myself. Also, I love to surprise people and see their faces when they are touched by an illusion. Combining those two things is very appealing to me!

What reaction do you get from people when you tell them you’re a magician?

A surprised face and a “wow, cool!“ And I agree, it is a cool job!

Were your friends and family supportive of your career aspirations? 

My parents, since they are also magicians, were very supportive. My friends love to hear the stories of my travels – they find them very amusing and entertaining so yes, they are all very supportive!

What’s the best part of touring the world with your act?

The touring itself! I love to travel, meet different people, speak other languages. When I am on tour, I feel alive – it’s a great sensation and I am thankful for this opportunity!

Do you look forward to coming to Gibraltar?

Yes! It’s my first time in Gibraltar, so I am very excited to visit and perform!

Well, there you have it. The Magic Festival 2017 looks very promissing with more acts from Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, USA, UK and, of course, Gibraltar. Tickets are on sale online at www.buytickets.gi & www.magic.gi and at JMH 11am to 1pm from £12.50. There will be stage shows, close up magic, conferences and even workshops so you can learn a thing or two yourself…