What images do you conjure when we say, “Magic”? Rabbits jumping out of previously empty top hats? Doves appearing from flattened and folded scarves? What about a man and a woman handcuffed and dangling from two sides of a pulley five metres above menacing spikes? A wrong move from one is sure to spell a piercing death for the other. Renowned local magicians, Lawrence and Priscilla Khong will be doing just that - dare-devil escape at the Esplanade Theatre in their new production, Vision – Where Seeing… is Just the Beginning.
From Apprentices to Magicians
Since his secondary school days at St. Joseph Institution at Bras Bash Road to his religious training at the Dallas Theological Seminary in the United States, Lawrence has been practicing, performing and perfecting his craft. After roping in his then-teenage daughter, Priscilla, to assist him with one of his acts, the duo have emerged as Singapore’s most famous master illusionists and the world’s first Asian recipients of the Elite Diamond Merlin Award- equivalent of an Oscar in the magicians’ world.
To Intrigue and Communicate, Inspire and Educate
Magic can intrigue and inspire an audience; it can also communicate a message. For the last ten years, Lawrence and Priscilla have been using magic as a way of spreading messages and stories of familial ties and love. Their new production carries that same mandate - to inspire and educate.
Titled Vision, the story is based on the idea of having wrong perceptions that cause emotional hurt and pain. The story goes like this: father and daughter are transported to a fantasy world where magic is anything but impossible. The twist is, the world happens to be Priscilla’s subconscious memory, one filled with hurt caused by her father who paid more attention to his magic than to his daughter. In this world of light and splendour, things take a dark and dramatic turn.
The show features Lawrence and Priscilla performing a wide array of new magic acts, including close-up magic, sleight of hands, a car appearance (a Lotus, I was told) and their final death-defying escape. The show promises to wow the audience, especially given that Don Wayne, the magic consultant for David Copperfield for 17 years, is the Magic Consultant for the production. And even Don has sung the production’s praises: “Not only is there a high degree of skill involved in Vision, the sheer scale of the show and its high production value undoubtedly make it a world-class performance!”
Lawrence hopes that the audience will not only be amazed and mesmerised by the magic acts, but also walk away inspired to spend more quality time with their families.
Priscilla and Lawrence will have their hands tied up to each other and will be dangled themselves above spikes.
Creating One Kind of Show
A fundamental challenge that Lawrence and his team face is in harmonising the seemingly contradictory natures of theatre and magic. In theatre, the actors have to be as life-like as possible so that the audience will feel for the characters. In magic, the magicians have to be larger-than-life. “Sometimes the story is strong, but our magic becomes weakened. In a magic trick, we want the lights and effects to make the magic really stand out. But once you do that, you are out of character,” says Lawrence.
While Lawrence seems confident that Vision’s storyline will synergise both elements, he’s gotten on board local theatre thespians Beatrice Chia and Samantha Scott-Blackhall to lend their creative and powerful theatre-storytelling skills to the production.
Do also keep your eyes peeled for the usage of a special lighting technology called projection mapping, a three-dimensional video projection on the planes of 3D objects, creating stunning visuals and life-like images. Through projection mapping, a monumental image of the old Capitol Theatre will be recreated, only to collapse and crumble dramatically in the show.
Lawrence is confident that when all the elements – magic, theatre, and technology – come together, it will certainly be “one kind of show.” While Lawrence hopes Overseas Singaporeans can fly back to watch the show, he envisions that one day he can take the show to wherever Overseas Singaporeans are. Even better, teleport you from wherever you are at the wave of a wand!
By Tan Meng Chuan
Vision - Where Seeing… is Just the Beginning
Dates: 15 – 24 July 2011 (No shows on Monday and Sunday evenings)
Times: 8pm (Evening Show) – July 15, 16, 19, 20-23
2.30pm (Matinee Show) – July 16, 17, 23, 24
Location: Esplanade Theatre
Websites: www.vision.sg, www.lawrenceandpriscilla.com
Tickets: $38 - $128 www.sistic.com.sg