Q&A: The House of Magic’s Travis Winkler

 

Witness an extraordinary world of magic and wonder in The House of Magic at Studio City Macau. The specially designed show has just opened in our sister SAR and is set to be Asia’s new mecca of magic with performances from world-renowned magicians, including legendary illusionist Franz Harary. We sit down for a chat with magician Travis Winkler as he graces the stage at The House of Magic and learn a few tricks of the trade from the charming illusionist.

Hi Travis! So tell us, how did your career in magic begin?
When I was very young, in the late 70s and early 80s, I saw a magician on television – very likely Canadian magician Doug Henning, who was famous at the time. After that I got a book from the library called Spooky Magic and another published by Disney called The Mickey Mouse Magic Book and I’d put on shows for my family, performing everything in those books. 

Magic remained a beloved hobby all through my formative years, and then, at the age of 23, I began performing professionally, but purely out of necessity. Times were tough and I needed additional income, so I thought perhaps people would pay to see my magic. While I’d always dreamed of performing professionally, I’d never really considered it as a source of income. It was always just something I loved doing and wanted to share more. Necessity was the catalyst for making that leap. I began street performing and never looked back. 

What keeps you inspired?
I’m also a filmmaker and I am very inspired by cinema, which is inextricably connected to magic. Magicians were, after all, the first filmmakers. I find inspiration in great music and art, as well. I read quite a lot and try to let ideas in philosophy and science weave their way into my magic. But I’d say it’s the joy that my shows bring to the audience, and to me, that inspires me most.

Tell us something special about your performance at The House of Magic. What can visitors expect?
My performance at The House of Magic is designed to be more up-close and personal and to prepare the audience for the shows they’ll be seeing later – to warm them up, basically. I have the wonderful opportunity to engage them one-on-one and provide truly personal experiences that, hopefully, they’ll always remember. 

I strive for two things really, joy and astonishment. I want the participants and viewers to have fun and to cause them to laugh and smile. Equally important to me is that they are utterly amazed by the seemingly impossible. Those are lofty goals and I strive to meet them with every performance.

How have things been working with Franz Harary at The House of Magic?
Working at The House of Magic is a dream opportunity, and it’s because of Franz’s vision this is all possible. To have a place to perform magic for people every day is something that many magicians dream of. Being a part of this process has been an immense pleasure. It’s always exciting to watch a dream become real, and to play a part in making that happen is a tremendous honour. 

What’s the most difficult part of pulling off each and every magic trick?
In my opinion, it’s not the secret or the hidden part. It’s the part which is most exposed – the relationship with the audience; making them care not only about what I’m doing, but about me as a performer. That’s a very vulnerable place. There’s a wonderful line of dialogue from [director] Christopher Nolan’s magic-centered movie, The Prestige, in which the character Alfred Borden says to a young, aspiring magician, “The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.” That statement is about much more than magic, in my opinion.

Can you share any of your magic secrets with us?
Here is a secret: magic is not about the magician deceiving you into believing in something unreal. It’s about the magician using deception to remind you to question everything. That is the beginning of wonder. The great magician, Harry Kellar said it best, “Feed with mystery the human mind, which dearly loves mystery.”



The House of Magic Studio City Macau, Estrada Flor de Lotus, Cotai, Macau. Tickets: $450 for general admission; available at studiocity­macau.com or call toll free 800 900 783.

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