“The pandemic forced me to find a new form of magic,” explains Quebec illusionist Luc Langevin, showing his little workshop-studio in Montreal. Since December, he has been hosting an interactive virtual show, the unexpected success of which has opened up new horizons for him.
In the previous life, the 37-year-old artist regularly crossed the Atlantic with his team and his equipment to present his shows in Europe. Especially in France where several television shows have contributed to its notoriety.
The coronavirus, and its cohort of show cancellations, has been the occasion for questioning, he tells AFP.
As with the martial arts he practiced in his youth, Luc Langevin sought to “use the strength of the adversary against him”.
“The pandemic forces us all to be in front of screens, so I thought to myself: how can I amaze people in this context? It forced me to find a new form of magic to offer it to people. In fact, it allowed me to reinvent myself ”.
The imposing crates of material are now stored against the walls of a small room located in a former factory in Montreal. A few tailor-made magic tables, the essential card game, a lemon, a nut … And a camera that follows him throughout the show, a long sequence shot of a little over an hour titled Interconnected.
“All the numbers are very interactive,” he insists.
Around twenty spectators who bought a “premium” ticket appear around the screen. Luc Langevin calls out to them, asks them to name an object or a map that he then makes appear or disappear. He turns Donald Trump into a cucumber with a magic scarf.
The spectators receive a “premonitory” e-mail from the magician during the performance – “don’t open it yet! “: It contains information which will be chosen live by” premium “but which have been” guessed “by the artist long before.
Some will be disappointed: no big levitations, no Cirque du Soleil-style poetry (with which he collaborated), and a few technical hiccups – “Eric, your microphone is not plugged in”.
The idea was to be “close to the people”, with an audience that participates and influences the course of each tour, which makes the originality of his project according to him.
Gift of ubiquity
“I was wondering: are people going to be ready to pay 25 or 55 dollars for a digital product of one hour while with Netflix, Youtube and social networks, we have it a bit for free”, recalls Luc Langevin.
The answer is yes, according to the artist.
The show, launched before the end of the year holidays and initially planned for two months, has been an unexpected success: around forty shows later, tickets continue to fly. So the adventure will continue “as long as there is demand”.
Especially with only two technicians in control and an average of 850 spectators per performance, “we became profitable much faster than we thought,” he said. “There are no big tour trucks, no hotel rooms, no per diem to pay to everyone …”
Another advantage: this format gives the illusionist one more talent, the gift of ubiquity.
“It’s one of the most magical things about this show, I can do a presentation for Europe at 2:30 pm, but it’s 8:30 pm over there. After that, I can go back to eat at home with my family and come back in the evening for a Canadian performance, ”explains this father of a young boy.
A boon for him, finally, this pandemic?
“We can see it like that,” he blurted out. Next step considered, an English version ofInterconnected to attack new markets, starting with the United States and Western Canada. And why not, when the rooms reopen, alternate performances on stage and virtual ones.
“It’s a magic that’s very different. The two products can coexist, ”he says with a greedy smile.