This can be the same for the escape artist. We are only limited by the boundaries of our imagination, and our willingness to learn new principles and techniques and apply them to our own acts. In order for our own performances to get better, we must be able to learn from the various resources in the world of magic. There is much to be learned from the teachings and insight of one of the biggest stars in the world of magic…Max Maven
An Interview with Max Maven …
Q: How long have you been a professional entertainer?
A: About 27 years.
Q: What was the inspiration for your character?
A: It is an extension of myself, and the evolution continues to this day.
Q: You are fluent in a number of languages…
A: I am fluent in English, and reasonably so in Japanese. My comprehension with French, Spanish and Italian is fair.
Q: You have been a consultant on many projects in magic. What are some ofthem?
A: One is the exhibit Magic: The Science of Illusion, that is touring museums across North America , and will run at least through 2007. There is a miniature "Pepper’s Ghost" illusion at Caesars Magical Empire in Las Vegas featuring a miniature performer named "Maximus Maven" who does interactive routines with the customers. I have also had the chance to direct various magic shows, and consult on a variety of television projects.
Q: Speaking of directing, you just directed a very successful performance of "The Nocturnal Trio" — yourself, Tina Lenert and Eugene Burger — at the SAM convention in New York this past July.
A: Yes, it was very well received. Previously, we had only performed it for a one-week run at the Magic Castle earlier in the year. I think the show works because it is character driven, meaning that the show is based on the unique personalities of the performers, and the routines come out of the interaction of those personalities, so it’s more than just a sequence of effects.
Q: Are there any plans to present "The Nocturnal Trio" again?
A: Yes. We have been booked to do the show at FISM in Holland , next July. We’ll probably do it for another week at the Magic Castle prior to that, to keep it in shape and also, hopefully, to break in a new routine we want to add to the show.
Q: Will you be coming out with any more videos about mentalism?
A: I’m not sure. Instructional videos can be problematic, in that they often give out too much information. It is harder to create your own style when you learn from video, as it tends to encourage mimicry. Learning from live teaching or from print is usually a better interface. Having said that, if at some point I feel I have more to say via the video medium, then I may return to that form.
Q: What advice would you give for the beginning magician or escape artist?
A: Slow down. We live in an instant-response society, and want immediate results for everything. But some things take time. So, learn to enjoy the process of learning.
Q: What is your opinion of escapes today?
A: Most escapes seem to set a "pattern of being exciting" without actually being exciting. The escape artist sets the rules, creates the challenge, and everything is so carefully planned that there is mostly form, not substance.
Q: What makes you such a different thinker when it comes to theory?
A: As in so many fields, most magicians do things a given way, simply because that’s the way it’s always been done — or so it seems. In fact, what we consider to be standard was, at some point, a new idea. I think we need to put more attention toward personalizing performances, with distinct images and styles. If you buy a suit off the rack, you might be lucky and it might fit, but usually it won’t. So, for the best fit, go for custom tailoring. The same holds true for performance material.
Q: What else would you like to add?
A: We need to continue to expand our thinking about magic, to better
understand it and make it more effective for our audiences — and for