Magic meets mirth
A comedian-illusionist and a stand-up artiste will share the stage this Sunday to give you a dose of laughter with a touch of legerdemain
In as far as the performing arts in India go, magic and stand-up comedy can be safely said to exist in separate silos. But if you are a fan of international talent reality shows, you have probably seen a magician hold the audience's attention with his wit as much as he does so with sleight of hand. "Comedy magic is, in fact, a popular category of magic in the West," says illusionist-comedian Karan Chauhan, who will give Mumbaikars a taste of this genre at a one-hour performance called Abracahaha, where he will share the stage with stand-up artiste Kajol Srinivasan.
Srinivasan, who has conceptualised the show, is known for her political humour and commentary on current affairs and social issues, particularly mental health and women's empowerment. She has also collaborated with a spoken-word artiste in the past. Though Srinivasan and Chauhan come from different genres, they have much in common. "Our language and how we present our material is similar. Karan's shows are very interactive and I do a lot of audience interaction too," she informs, adding, "While ours will be two separate acts, they tie in well. So, we felt that we didn't need a host." Another reason the collaboration came about was because they both had content for 30 minutes each — which is substantial considering that they need to talk for the entire duration — but from the audience's point of view, an hour-long performance is ideal. This explains why comedy gigs often have a line-up of artistes instead of one comedian holding the fort.
Chauhan clarifies that he is not the classic pigeon-out-of-the-hat magician, and that his tricks are certainly not meant for entertaining children — the show is suitable for those aged 18 and above. "You can call my act as that of a magician who makes a lot of mistakes on stage. So, I will ask you to think of a word, but I will make a wrong guess on purpose. For instance, in my last show, an audience member thought "tiger", I guessed it wrong, but there was a gift I had reserved for him in the end which turned out to be a soft toy of a tiger," he explains.
The idea of infusing comedy into magic, he shares, took shape when he was teaching himself to be an illusionist. "I would make mistakes, but I thought that if I let them remain a part of the act, it makes a performer more human," Chauhan adds. The entire act is a combination of funny props, conversations with the audience that are meant to be funny, and situational comedy. For the viewers of a collaborative show, it's a win-win, he says. "They get a variety show that's both, hilarious and mysterious."
ON September 22, 7.30 pm
TO 8.30 pm
AT Si Bambai, 105 Mumbai Samachar Marg, Fort,
LOG ON TO bookmyshow.com
Entry Rs 300
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Don't miss the Butterfly festival in Mumbai this weekend!