All things magic: an interview with Incanto’s Joe Labero!
Joe Labero, three-time recipient of the Merlin award (the Oscar equivalent of the magic world) and performer of sell-out crowds worldwide, speaks to us about his life as a magician, magic as a career, advice for aspiring illusionists and countering stage fright. Find out more on where you can get a good dose of magic!
First time performing in the Little Red Dot
Labero is in Singapore as a performer for the first time. He said that when he booked this gig; one of his first specifications was that he had to stay in the city area. Since his arrival in Singapore, he has tried chili crabs, a speciality in Singapore. He looks forward to exploring Singapore as currently all his efforts are focused on ensuring a flawless run on the opening night happening on Thursday 8th November at the Festive Grand Theatre at Resorts World Sentosa.
Spectators will enter the realm of fantasy with the world premiere of Incanto, an original multi-million dollar theatrical show featuring one of the world’s top illusionists, Joe Labero himself.
Magic as a Career
According to Labero, growing up he was active in sports especially ice-hockey, football and table tennis. He feels that choosing to pursue magic as a career made him different. “It was quite different because I grew up in a small country town. Show business was very strange. I mean when entertainers [like the circus] came to my home town, it was ‘wow that was good that was interesting.’”
Transition from small town magician to Labero, the illusionist
In Stockholm, 1991, after an impressive eight year run as a professional magician; Labero put up his first big production - A Magic Night. “It was a transition from my smaller productions to a bigger production. Anywhere you start, you have to start in your local area.”
“It comes from the heart”
Labero passionately explains the reason for his everlasting passion for magic: “It was something interesting. It brought a lot of attention a lot of ‘wow, how did you do that?’ I think it was something unique, the whole ambience around the art of magic. It’s so much more than just learning a trick.” Labero clarifies the reason for his name is because his mentor felt that he needed a hard hitting name that conveyed mystery and enigma. “You have work around the world. And he came up with Joe Labero.” Labero added that the international aspect was very important as it would help to sell the brand.
Capturing the attention of the audience
As an entertainer, Labero takes pride in leaving a lasting impression. His biggest challenge is keeping the audience mystified and riveted to the various tricks he performs. “It’s very difficult to make an audience care and say ‘wow how did he do that?’ After one of my shows, a man came up to me and said I saw your show ten years ago. And I thought ‘wow he remembered something from that long ago. It is important to make it memorable.”
Labero, the golfer?
If Labero were not a magician, he would probably be a golfer. He says this is because most of his friends were golfers. Also, as a magician he would need to carry many props and rent containers to ship them from continent to continent. Were he a golfer, he would just need a caddy and a golf bag. Labero also mentioned that he was jealous of the scenic locations that they get to play at. He concedes that it too requires a lot of practice. He could not stop stressing that “Success is hard work.”
Illusionist of the Decade Award
Labero says that receiving the “Illusionist of the Decade” from the Merlin Award society in 2009 was a great feeling. “It’s always good to be appreciated by your own peers. Other people, they don’t tell you if you need to improve. Through your own peers, you can improve more and impress more, and you can always feel better. It can also bring in positive energy and that is always important.”
Labero’s 5-year-old daughter, a budding magician?
Not every parent supports a child’s dream of being a magician or an entertainer but Labero says that his daughter Nicole despite her age has been growing up surrounded by magic and the entertainment business in general. He says he would not be surprised if she expressed interest to be part of the entertainment industry and he will support it fully.
Advice to aspiring illusionists
Labero remembers that after one of his shows in Europe, a young boy approached him and declared that he could do 1000 tricks. Labero believes that number of tricks you can do, is not important, as long as can do them well. “It can be with coins or rings or everyday objects. You can be ambitious but it takes time. Everything has its platform, take one step at a time.”
Countering stage fright
Stage fright can affect anyone no matter how prepared or professional they are. His advice to aspiring illusionists with stage fright would be “practise practise practise. Keep doing over and over. That will help. In one of my European shows, there was an old friend in the audience. Automatically, it puts pressure on me and I can get nervous.” He joked that it would be best to have an unknown audience when performing.
Magic still exists!
Labero believes that magic still exists because it is a great art form. He also believes that it eventually leads back to the childhood dream of being a magician. “It usually roots back to the childhood dream of being a magician. You get that dream when you’re young. ‘Wow I want to be this brilliant thing.’”
Trusty magic trick
Labero reluctantly revealed that one trick he believed would never fail to impress his audiences was the ring trick. In this trick, the magician would ask for three rings from the audience. He would magically link the three rings will link them. He will ask the audience members to confirm that the rings used were indeed their own. After attaining confirmation from the three audience members of their rings, he would magically separate and return them to their respective owners.
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Immerse youself in the wonders of magic right here!
You can catch Joe Labero in action in the Danze Fantasy Productions’ Incanto being showcased at the Festive Grand Theatre at Resorts World Sentosa. Incanto tell the story of a curious seeker, played by Singaporean Oon Shu-Ann, who enters a strange monastery. Guided by a Jester, she attracts the fearful Dungeon Master, mortal enemy of the Sorcerer – played by Joe Labero. Incanto follows her thrilling adventure until the showdown between Good and Evil.
Incanto is presented by Resorts World Sentosa, in association with Danze Fantasy Productions.
Date: 8th November 2012 – 10th March 2013
Ticket prices: $148, $98, $88, $78, $48
Sentosa Tel: +65 6577 8888 Website: www.rwsentosa.com
Sistic Tel: +65 6348 5555 Website: www.sistic.com.sg