The person sitting opposite me is looking at a picture projected on to the wall behind my head. He asks me to describe the picture without turning round and looking at it. The results are uncanny. The picture I describe is indeed very close to the picture he is observing. And how do we explain the fork that really did seem to heat and bend between our palms? Or the other strange events involving telepathy and ESP that take place in that darkened room with its ancient reel-to-reel tape recorders and outdated equipment, a place where the light occasionally seems to conjure ghostly images and you hear snatches of people talking.
A great deal of theatre relies on sleight of hand and the directed eye, but most of all on the audience’s suspension of disbelief. Simply Told’s sly little show plays on all three to considerable effect in a piece that casts the audience of two as the protagonists, subjects in a 1980s experiment taking place in a psychic research laboratory. The cunning beauty of the piece is that while afterwards we may ponder how they did it, the truth is that we are doing it to ourselves. We want to believe and so we do, just as we want to believe that fairies exist in Peter Pan or that the actor before us really is King Lear…
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Jon has over 15 years’ experience in the creation, design and production of performance. He has designed and built magic effects for traditional, immersive and site-specific theatre, ranging from large-scale illusions such as levitations and vanishes to psychological and suggestion-based effects.
He is co-director of Simply Told, whose work combines theatre, installation, magic and storytelling. The company is an Associate Artist of Greenwich Theatre, and its work has been supported by the Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre, British Science Festival, Canterbury International Festival and Brighton & Hove Council, amongst many others.
As a result of this experience, Jon is an authority on the combination of magic and theatre. He recently gave a talk at the world-famous Magic Circle on magic, light and immersive theatre. He was also invited to participate in a Guardian panel on Micro Performance, has written a chapter about the use of magic to create experience, spoken at the Natural History Museum and the Barbican Centre on magic and theatre, and is a Lecturer in Lighting at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He is also resident magician at the communications company AGL International.
Jon has worked all over the world, and has expertise in theatre, video and TV production. He is passionate about using magic to tell stories, and combines his creative and technical expertise in order to place the audience at the centre of every experience that he creates.
Jon has worked for some of the most exciting creative companies in the UK, with clients including Lost & Found, Gideon Reeling, Vault Festival, Agency of Coney and Hermes, and he works closely with the charity Breathe Magic, which uses magic training as occupational therapy for children living with hemiplegia.
Jon is always looking for new and interesting projects to get involved in. So whatever magic you want to weave, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements.
Annette Mees – Artistic Director of Coney