September 3, 2011
[L to R] Australians Vyom Sharma and Simon Coronel manipulated their way into the hearts of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival goers using illusions.
Lessons learnt at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will reap benefits for future Pacific acts at the event.
New Zealand’s Card Ninja Javier Jarquin and Australian illusionists Simon Coronel and Vyom Sharma have spent August entertaining masses of international guests at the World’s largest performing arts gathering.
Now that the Edinburgh festival is over the three men plan on a return and will spend the next year working on acts using lessons learnt this year.
Escaping careers in IT and medicine respectively, the three men wowed crowds with tricks of the mind and stories about where they’re from.
Simon, the winner of the Australian Institute of Magic’s July FISM Oceania Championships of Magic, spoke of confronting an over-stated desire for originality and what that meant for festival shows.
Edinburgh attracts acts that you will not see in your hometown, he said. “I saw a singing anaesthetist, a 60 man play. I saw a show with no actors, a show in the dark.”
An act did not have to fit any strict formula or be deeply original to feature in the international line up, he said. As long as people can buy a ticket to the show that’s the only criteria that it takes and it helps if your show is good enough to trigger word of mouth publicity, said Mr Coronel.
The two man show he and fellow Melbourne local Vyom put together manipulated the audience into believing optical illusions. One trick was turning a five pound note into 20 pounds.
Fringe lessons for the duo are strategic based. Vyom said a show’s audience can be built on a clever name or a decent flyer. The show can just be okay but your advertising material will be the initial hook that pulls your audience in, he said. The quality of your show will then be the best tool for audience expansion. “The good show is the most powerful thing. When you hear someone say a show is good it trumps anything.”
Christchurch’s Javier Jarquin performed two acts involving commentary on what happened when he gave up his career in IT to follow his passion and the ways of the legendry Ninjas using card tricks. “It’s about Ninjas and cards. If you’re a 12-year-old boy you’re going to love it.”
Edinburgh was a trade fair for performers, he said. “It’s the biggest festival for performers worldwide. You come to work hard and learn. You’re going to have a great time.
“After my first Edinburgh I knew about [festivals]. I knew about what I had to do with the next year.”
Big name performers had been working for years and had the audience numbers to show. It was disheartening to walk past queues numbering into the hundreds to play a show for 20 people or less, he said. As an act Edinburgh will have you playing the “hard yards”
Simon said the phenomenon of overnight Fringe successes is a myth. The shows that breakthrough have come from years of work, he said. The act from nowhere that bursts on to the stage to critical acclaim is rare, he said.
All men plan on sticking it out continuing with their craft. A return to their steady lives in IT and medicine is now only a possibility of many on the horizon. The Fringe bug has bitten and all three performers have been caught it its grip.