“If I wave my magic wand, will you come back?” Beverly Bishop – Finding Magic
David acted as Magic Consultant for the show Finding Magic working throughout 2020 under the difficult and unusual circumstances surrounding the pandemic. Share some of the journey below.
Much of the world is in complete lockdown. We’re all dealing with huge amounts of change, not to mention uncertainty about the future. Yet throughout this, Beverly Bishop has crafted the opportunity to create a new show, Finding Magic. The piece depicts her journey through grief and healing following the loss of her son, Jess.
I’m acutely aware of the temptation to reinterpret in a more general sense, the idea of finding a magic that we may lose from current, past or future circumstances. But that would be overlooking the point that the show is about one mother’s ultimate loss. Bev heartfeltedly explores and conveys her journey of grief and healing through theatre.
Yet I find our own experiences of theatre come to shape as a mirror on our own lives and experiences, and to feel and understand the content of Bev’s story, we draw from these. It may that the current environment of lockdown and loss frames Bev’s journey to even deeper empathise with her pain and progress.
Bev approached me during the first UK-wide lockdown to discuss early idea for incorporating magic into her new piece. Events had been cancelled and the prospect of events throughout the rest of the year remained uncertain. So I was really excited to be able to work on something creative. Having worked bringing magic to the stage in Beauty and the Beast, it was good to return in a consulting role.
The process this time around was different. Social distancing measures meant meetings on Zoom – not your usual Zoom meetings however! As Bev and I discussed ideas and I went away to develop the magic, I’d return to demonstrate objects floating or transforming through the webcam. Later I’d teach Bev (who rose to the challenge) her first magic after posting props through the post.
It was months later when we first met in person at Norwich Puppet Theatre for rehearsals. There we got to play with magic for real. What a feeling to be back in the theatre after so many months! Even if it was just the small team of professionals working together.
A shadow of uncertainty continued to hang over the production scheduled for a socially-distanced run in October 2020. Though by some magic, the timing of lockdown measures allowed the performance. Having the privilege to attend in person, I was one of the few able to experience the magic of live theatre during the year. And I was one of even fewer to experience Finding Magic.
My small contribution was to help in bringing the magic to the show. This added another element along with storytelling, humour, anecdotes and film to convey the piece. But for me the magic was in the creative process and being able to work creatively with others during such a difficult time.
Finding Magic helped me deepen my own relationship with magic, but more importantly understand Bev’s journey and to share in her experiences in such a wonderful way. -David
Finding Magic has been remade into a film and is currently featured and available to view in the AltPitch Online Festival.