Get lost in the magic of Sheldon Casavant
Edmonton magician Sheldon Casavant has performed all over the world and on Oct. 12 he will be taking the main stage at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. Supplied
Sheldon Casavant remembers when he first formed his addiction to magic tricks.
He was about eight years old and became sucked into the mystery and impossibility.
On Oct. 12 he will be kicking off the Fountain Tire Family Series at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre where he could potentially be influencing the next Casavant.
“It created that secret world for me as a young kid that allowed me to learn things that could draw that joy out of audiences I would perform for at that time,” said Casavant, 32.
When he was 11, he became serious about practicing and performing at community events and birthday parties. His mentor passed on his linking rings to Casavant and for the first time he really felt like he was doing magic. He was hooked. There was no way around it, and unlike many parents who watch their offspring head off into the unpredictable world of performance magic, he had the full support of his mom and dad.
“They knew early on,” said Casavant. “When I was about 11 or 12, I was interviewed for an article in the Journal, and it was essentially about that … and their response was that they’d be surprised if I would be anything else. They understood early on that I was going down a magical path.”
Magic has taken him from his hometown of Edmonton, where he currently lives, to trips around the globe, including an extended stint in Japan where he performed more than 600 shows. He has performed for groups as small as corporate business meetings to crowds of more than 25,000 people. During the 2010 Olympics, he performed for the athletes in Vancouver. He has also twice been nominated for Canadian Entertainer of the Year by the Canadian Events Industry.
He says different regions of the world present different challenges for entertainers. The biggest one is the language barrier, something he ran into in Japan.
“In a country where the magic needs to speak for itself, then it tends to shift more into the visual sleight of hand magic which really creates magic without needing to speak,” he said.
Casavant gets a wide range of reactions to his tricks. The younger fans are drawn in completely to the magic, thinking the impossible just happened. His older, more knowledgeable fans, however, are generally left puzzled and scratching their head at how they were tricked, but also help them turn the clock back a little bit.
“With adults, you get them just as excited about the concepts of seeing magic that they haven’t experienced that wonder and that mystery for a long time,” he said. “It creates that opportunity to be a child again.”
His own personal style has evolved over the years from sleight of hand to big illusions and now he’s gone back to his roots. For his show in Camrose he will be performing an ode to the most famous magician of all-time, Harry Houdini, recreating one of the tricks he made famous, the straight jacket escape.
“I parallel his childhood growing up with wanting to be a magician with my own childhood growing up and wanting to be a magician,” said Casavant. “I tell the story of Houdini through my own experiences as well as a young guy wanting to be a magician.”
The all-ages show goes Oct. 12 at 2 p.m., tickets are free and are available through the Lougheed Centre box office or at camroselive.ca.