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The Charlie Caper Interview

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The Charlie Caper Interview
Magician Charlie Caper recently took home the top prize in television's "Sweden's Got Talent," the regional version of the well known show. Here, Caper talks with Magic.About.com about the challenges of performing on the televised talent show, Swedish attitudes towards magic, his upcoming performance at FISM and more.

Wayne N. Kawamoto: What was the biggest challenge to adapt and perform your magic routines on the show?

Charlie Caper: I would definitely say the short time restraints. Each act only gets 90-120 seconds and that leaves very little room to build something up. So I used a running gag from my street show (the bow tie) and weaved it through all three rounds. Another challenge was that I essentially needed three finales, when I only have one in my usual show.

WK: What was the biggest challenge to gain the support of the judges?

CC: I didn't find that so hard as I didn't think so much about the judges. My goal was to charm the public because they are the ones I want to perform for in the future.

WK: How do most people in Sweden view magic? Is it positive or negative?

CC: I think it's like everywhere else in the world. A member of the public has their view on magic based on that one magician they've seen who may or may not have suited their tastes. Any magician performing for big chunks of the population is a good thing cause they can show a different flavor of magic.

Hopefully through this TV show I have reached some people who thought they didn't like magic and changed their mind. In the end it's the artist, not the art form people should have opinions about. Do you like music? (kind of a silly question isn't it?)

WK: I understand that one of the TV hosts who you performed magic for is a magician. Is this the case? How did this help or make it more difficult?

CC: His name is Tobbe Trollkarl (Tobbe Blom), and he is a magician who in the last decade has become a TV personality over here. Having him on the show helped a whole lot, mainly because he is a really, really great guy.

He is extremely supportive to magicians and variety artists on the show, and you would never find a more humble guy. NEVER would he make a magician look bad to serve his ego. If you look at his reactions to my magic on youtube you will see how much he understands the difference it makes, and how generous he is.

WK: Any interesting stories from your experience on the show?

CC: My costume in the finals was a real problem. The production was going to give me a costume and I really emphasized how important it was that everything was made exactly to my specifications, otherwise the tricks wouldn't work.

I flew in four days early so that I would be able to rehearse with the new costume and it was delayed three days, barely ready Thursday evening. At this point the costume wasn't perfect, and I was forced to give up the vest and jacket they had made and use my own costume instead (which is the same that I'm using in round 1 of the show). This decision was made at five at night, fifteen hours before airing.

On the day of the finals I was still having technical trouble with the trousers which were held together by safety pins even when I was on stage.

WK: Anything else that you would like to talk about?

CC: The magic scene in Sweden now is extremely supportive and great. I'm writing this on a train up to Uppsala where I'm meeting up with Johan Ståhl (who won the close-up competition at World Magic Seminar 2008) and Brynolf & Ljung who are my Swedish team-mates for FISM in China. We are going to spend a full day of polishing our FISM-acts together.

The atmosphere among the pro magicians in Sweden right now is very much one of cooperation and triggering each other. I think it'll show real results in five years, and I would not be surprised if "The Swedes" is an expression the international magic community will hear a lot in the future.

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