Mind Games at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Mind Games
The Billiard Club (10505 82 avenue) August 14 – 14 (every day)
More information:

An interview with Jeff Newman.

Jeff Newman in Mind Games. Photo credit: Cameron Lomon

Jeff Newman in Mind Games. Photo credit: Cameron Lomon

Describe your show in five words. 

Science, suggestion, and good old-fashioned trickery.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Mind Games showcases my skills as a mentalist. I make predictions, influence thoughts and behavior, and even read minds using my background in science, suggestion, and good-old fashioned trickery. Each piece in the show tracks my journey to becoming a mentalist, talking about how my experiences growing up led me to where I am, and how they still influence me today.

You have a lifelong interest in magic – what drew you to magic as a kid and how do you keep that passion/exuberance present in your performances?

It was an indirect discovery, really. My family was big into games, puzzles, pranks, tricks, and impromptu science experiments so getting into magic was a natural progression. As a kid, I saw magic more like a puzzle than anything else. The “how does that work?” fascination is what interested me, and when I started learning, I was hooked. Because of that, I approach my performances the same way. Rather than present my audience with “an amazing trick,” it’s more an attitude of “let me show you a puzzle.” People are still amazed, but I find that whatever they’re presented with becomes more “real.” It brings back a sense of wonder that a lot of people lose when they get older.

 So we get a taste of your show, can you describe your favourite trick to perform for audiences?

I have a lot of favorites for a lot of different reasons. I have one that uses books to select a random word, which I glean from the spectator. It seems so simple, but so impossible at the same time. Another involves revealing someone’s first crush. It’s a more intimate piece that results in spectators being absolutely speechless. But, my personal favorite is a simple game of picking up playing cards off a deck. It’s a clean, direct trick that involves my own personal story, audience interaction, and a kicker ending. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spot for it in my show…but those who make it out to the Fringe Festival launch on August 5th (or any of those who manage to find me out and about in Whyte Avenue establishments) will get a chance to see it.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

It’s going to be a great show, filled with gasps, laughs, and cheers. You’ll leave the show saying, “How the %@&! did he do that?!”

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Huge thanks to:

  • Hannah Rud – She’s the second-in-command for the whole Fringe process, and I couldn’t have done it without her.
  • Benjamin Toner – He provided the fantastic graphic work for all the publicity material.
  • Natascha Hainsworth – for helping me with all the “admin” things along the way, and being a great mentor in the world of performing arts.
  • My family – Not only have they been super supportive, they’ve been the first to volunteer extra sets of hands (or iron out all the wrinkles on my rain-soaked posters).
  • The Billiard Club – They’re spectacular people at a great venue. It’s been a seamless partnership, and I hope that I get the chance to work with them in the future.
  • Cameron Lomon – Photographer: great job on finding all the angles that make me look good.
  • David Gabert, and The Drama Nutz – The improv troupe in Lethbridge. They’ve taught me to think on my feet, helping me with promo material, and providing honest feedback.
  • The University of Lethbridge – for being first in line to step in and help their students take on challenges like the Fringe.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. I’ll be previewing shows up until the Fringe starts. Want your show to appear on After the House Lights? Email [email protected].


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