“Everything was an obstacle with this illusion”
Congratulations on that Vanishing and Reappearing Lake Illusion, Alexx! Did you come up with the idea yourself, or who inspired you?
Alexx Alexxander: Yes I actually did, but the entire project was a collaboration with the City of Oslo. They were hosting a celebration as they were appointed “European Green Capital 2019”. In that regard they came to me and asked me if I could make an impossible and new illusion that had never been done before. I said I could, and that was when the idea of using water came along. Water is a necessary ressource for us, and in Oslo there is only one source for water, Lake Maridal. So I decided to attempt something that was never done before by any magician in the world: to make the great Lake Maridal disappear.
How long did it take to develop the concept from idea to performance?
Just over a year we worked on it to be able to do it. We actually had to come up with a brand new concept in magic to be able to pull it off. We couldn’t use old principles. It didn’t work. It was a challenging illusion as I wanted to have a live audience present when we did it. Another challenge was to find the right location. The production looks small and easy, but it was really not. There were so many people involved in this, and the production time took forever. And we used months just for testing. My own crew worked around the clock.
We hear that the late Don Wayne was consulting on this…
Yes, that’s right. He and I have been working together for years. He has helped out with ideas for my live show and he has made unique illusions for me. The first big scale illusion we did together was the disappearance of a gas station.
On the lake illusion, when we figured out just how to be able to do the illusion, Don made the drawings on how we had to build what was required. We also worked with the brilliant Tim Tønnessen whom I’ve been working with for many years. He was the person who figured out the new principle that we used. He has a clever mind, and has also known Don for years. We made a really good team.
What were the reactions of the media and of the magic community in Norway on this illusion?
The reactions were amazing. All of the Norwegian press covered it, and the City of Oslo made an event on the 16th of June where we released the illusion to the public for the first time. It was a great sight of thousands of people that came to witness it. There were more people than they expected, it was a completely full venue.
Everywhere I go now, people come up to me and talk about this illusion. Everyone has heard about it or seen it in the papers or on TV.
Can you share what the main obstacles were in making this trick happen?
Everything was an obstacle with this illusion! We tried all principles of magic, but none of them worked. The lake is so big and in constant movement, and everywhere around there’s forest with trees and branches that move in the wind. And here in Norway the weather can be a challenge, and it really was during this. We had so much wind, rain and just impossible working conditions.
We had to do everything secretly so that no one would figure out what I was attempting. The City of Oslo was very helpful with everything we needed. My vision was to do it live, but because of the weather challenges we had to film it a couple of days before and launch it on the 16th of June. But I got a standing ovation for it at the event, so I’m very pleased.
What’s next on your agenda?
This autumn I’m touring Norway with my grand illusion show. I’m also traveling to Las Vegas for an exciting event during the tour. Next year I’m filming my own TV-special and taking my show abroad. A year ago, I performed in Mumbai, India. I’m also going back there. Very excited about that. Hopefully I will also come to more countries in Europe soon!
Thank you, Alexx, and good luck for your upcoming ventures!
(Interview: Jan Isenbart)
Find more news on Alexx, his tour schedule and projects here.
See the video of Lake Maridal here:
And here’s the discussion of this illusion and similar ones or its predecessors over at the Genii Forum.