Michael Abrahamson, a leading mentalist and memory expert as well as former magician, takes the audience on a mind-expanding experience. His family friendly show explores illusion in a fun, interacting and spellbinding way.
The first question I posed to Abrahamson, with some encouragement from my editor, was a bit mischievous: I asked him to tell me what I was thinking about. Given his many years of experience doing this, he answered in true showmanship style, saying: “Why don’t you come to the show and participate with me on stage. Then I’ll tell you exactly what you’re thinking.”
On when he discovered he had this talent, he recalls: “I’ve always had a good memory. I guess I was blessed, academically, from early on. What also helped was the fact that I went on a very intensive memory training skills course, under a top memory expert, in 1993. From then on it just grew, and it has helped me considerably in my many different areas of work.”
Abrahamson notes: “My shows are constantly changing and evolving. My wife is my inspiration and she often comes up with great ideas, which I try to incorporate into new routines and show themes. My director, Richard H Nosworthy, is also a creative genius and challenges me in different ways. I try never to do exactly the same show twice and, in mentalism, you can manage this as every audience is different and every audience member presents new and exciting challenges, so I constantly have to be on my game. It’s very exciting though and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
He continues: “I now offer memory training courses across the country, principally to school learners and college/varsity students, where I teach them how to retain vast quantities of info in a fun and relaxed environment. They also see massive improvements in their results. I also use memory demos and wow routines in my shows. For example, in Visage, I attempt to memorise an entire shuffled pack of cards in under a minute without errors. Basically, I constantly like to challenge myself.”
As for the crazy things he has gotten people to do, he says: “I am not the type of performer who likes to have a cheap laugh at the audience’s expense, so I’m very careful about giving my audience members an incredible experience but without embarrassing them or making them feel uncomfortable in any way. They are such a crucial part of what I do as, without them, there is no show. I’d rather embarrass myself than cause them any discomfort at all, so I guess I’d have to say not much by way of craziness. “I have, however, told them interesting things about themselves that I couldn’t possibly know in advance and have often left my audiences shaking their heads in bewilderment and awe.”
He ends by saying: “All I can say is that they (the audience) won’t be disappointed. The general reaction I get is that people are spellbound and amazed by what they see, and they constantly want to engage with me afterwards to find out how I do what I do. It’s wonderful when you can convert sceptics. It’s a show probably very different from anything they might have seen before.”
* Visage runs at The Auto & General Theatre on the Square until May 14.
* Tickets are available through Computicket online: www. computicket.com or 0861 915 8000. or the theatre: 011 883 8606.