Today we have something a little different to entertain and enlighten Beauty and Lace readers. Adam Mada is one of Australia’s celebrated illusionists and we were lucky to find out a little more about him in the lead up to his run of shows at the Melbourne Magic Festival.
How did you become interested in magic initially?
I’m a dreamer, a science geek and a showoff, the perfect cocktail to create magical moments for people. It all began in the enchanted forest where I was raised by elves. No seriously, Enid Blyton’s books had a profound impact on me as a child and ever since I’ve been trying to create her surreal worlds.
What inspired you to pursue magic as a full time career?
I was working part time/contract in IT. I had a great job with solid income, at one point I even worked for the public service. I could have spent the rest of my life in a cushy job. However every single day I dreamed about doing what I’m actually doing right now, in-fact even at work meetings & presentations I’d bring in some magic and work it in somehow. I lived a double life for a while, where I would come off stage late at night on a real buzz, then the next day at work some noob was telling me what to do, I absolutely hated it. Something had to give, in a moment of insight I thought to hell with it, it’s now or never what’s the worse that could happen..
Was there ever anything else you wanted to do with your life?
In my late teens I wanted to be a pilot, I started a private pilots course at college, and flew around 20 hours solo, the course was heavily subsidised by the school, then when college finished in order to continue the lessons they became considerably more expensive and at the time I simply could not afford it. I love to fly and soon I will go back to it.
Tell us about your costumes?
I’m all about Diesel Punk and Gatsby at the moment, which is a blend of 1950’s curves and prohibition era and 1920’s glam finished off with some modern edge. All of my suits are 100% bespoke creations from boutique suit-maker, Matthew Lawrence. We collaborate on them and at times bring in other artists. The jacket lining in the photograph, has a hand drawn skull printed on silk by artist Sofia Fitzpatrick. Because I also do a lot of close up magic, the detail on the suits becomes really important. I’ve recently also acquired some beautiful little Diesel Punk cuff links, which are jewelled internal watch mechanisms.
Your studies have seen you travel quite extensively, where is the most amazing place you have studied?
Caracas, Venezuela. A mysterious turn of events lead me to meet the Venezuelan consulate for Australia, whom was an amateur magician. When he returned to his home he invited me to stay with his family in Caracas and meet the local magicians, I met many characters and learnt many things, they have a very well-established scene there and are very inventive and creative as they don’t have as much access to western prop dealers and so on.
Throughout your career you have been involved in quite a varied range of media outlets, what is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
Nothing will ever beat the sound of an audience clapping and cheering a completely original creation, routine or trick. However the most satisfying is when I teach people magic and conjuring, seeing them become passionate and then sharing with others… it is a real buzz.
How did you become an Ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation?
They approached me for an event called Cap Fest, where all the Starlight Captains come from all over the country to meet and learn, I was brought in to teach them magic. We are now in the process of creating a national magic course / curriculum for all new captains to go through. These guys are the real heroes, visiting extremely ill children in Hospitals across the country sharing performances and magic with them. When you see an 8 year old boy’s face (who is terminally ill and stuck in bed) light up with delight because of a simple trick with rubber bands, it brings a tear to my eye.
July will see you perform as part of the Melbourne Magic Festival, what can audiences expect from the show?
This latest show will be a combination of many years of development on various routines and pieces which generally travel around with me on cruise ships, I’ll also be debuting a very special illusion made popular in the 1920’s during prohibition known as “any drink called for”. It is a very, very rare routine and I’ve spent 4 years trying to figure out how to get it right, it looks so good the audience can smell it, taste it and drink it!
How similar are your shows, do you have a set list of trickeries you perform at every show?
One problem I have is I rarely ever do the same show again, some of my colleagues can’t believe the stress I put myself through. I’m always improving things, changing them or developing new tricks and contraptions. A lot of my work is custom magic effects for corporate product launches or presentations, so at any given point I’m always working on a new routine or trick. This next two month’s see’s me working on 5 completely different productions.
Have you ever had a trick go completely wrong in a show?
Yep big time! 2000 people in the audience, day time food & wine festival in Sydney, we had just reached the finale of the show which was a 6 foot high levitation, however something went wrong with the apparatus at the last second and my floating lady plummeted to the ground like a rock! After making sure she was ok, we ran off stage not knowing what to do! It was the best thing to ever happen to me. I think it’s important as an entertainer to be humiliated in front of many, many people, it breaks down the ego and prepares you for almost anything in the future. I mean if it can’t get any worse than what just happened, then you’ll probably be right!! Also the MC for that show was the famous Sydney drag identity Claire De Lune, AKA Marc Kuzma. Marc after that show brought me on board as a founding member for the now infamous EL CIRCO at Slide Cabaret. We’ve been running every week for over 6 years, I’m now working on another two different shows with Marc.
What’s next for Adam Mada?
I’ve got a TV pitch in the works using magic in a subtle way not really seen before, I’m also launching a new business over the next 12 months, which is more in the education arena.
Thank you so much for talking to us Adam, it’s certainly been entertaining.
For tickets to his shows at Northcote Town Hall for The Melbourne Magic Festival you can call: 03 9489 9500 or check out the website: www.melbournemagicfestival.com.au
Groups of 10+ People: $16 each