BWW Interview: Charles Tertiens Returns to the Cape Town Stage for a Night of Comedy Magic
Charles Tertiens is heading back to the stage in Cape Town with his new show: PREMIUM LIVE SHOWCASE OF COMEDY MAGIC. It's set to be a laugh a minute at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice, but he does promise that no watches will be harmed.
BWW: Let's start off with - What brought you back to the stage and how long has it been since you last performed live in Cape Town?
Charles: I think that I have reached a point in my life where I want to do what makes me happy. And performing in front of an audience, making them laugh and allowing them to escape any worldly problems, if only for a moment in time, that makes me extremely happy and excited about life.
I never really left the live performance world entirely, the last time I did a theatre run was in 2017, but I have still always been performing in comedy clubs and corporate events. In a way, this is my return to my one man public shows, in which I am planning on growing and changing how we perceive magic.
BWW: What can audiences expect from this new show? Are you bringing us any of our favourite comedy characters, or perhaps some new ones? Any particular magic tricks you're excited about performing?
Charles: This will be a parlor-styled comedy magic show. Kind of like a stand up comedian, but with a healthy dose of magic and illusion. I have just returned from a magic convention in Johannesburg, where I received so much inspiration and invaluable tips from International award-winning magicians and magic advisers, which has made me even more excited for this show and I cannot wait to implement some of their lessons in the act.
I do have a Vaudevillian magician character, Al Dente the Great, but he is not planning to make an appearance this time around. Al Dente was the basis for my character for when I headlined Madame Zingara's Love Magic tour and I will be working on a separate act for him in the future.
BWW: How do you go about creating comedy characters for live events and television? You don't have to give us any trade secrets, but maybe just a little insight into your thought process.
Charles: The biggest trade secret, always work with a director! One cannot create an in-depth character without guidance and help. For instance, in 2007, I created Al Dente the Great, styled off of classical magicians and looking into the humor of the seriousness of magic that some magicians portray. When we reworked the very same character for the Love Magic tour, I worked with two dance choreographers, a magic director and an artistic director to make sure that Al would be the best that he could be.
Every character that I create will always have a bit of me in them, but I always try and answer a few questions about the new character. Firstly, I need to know who he is, his history, his purpose. Then I move to his physicality and unique body language, how would he walk, move, flow or gesture. I would do the same for his voice, if he has one, these are but a few brief ideas. The more that I know about a character, the more real he becomes.
BWW: In terms of preparation and rehearsals for a show like this one, what does your pre-production life look like?
Charles: Other than a big mess? My entire office and studio will be a mess until the show is over. Every space that I have becomes a playground of creation. Everything that I hear or see could be a spark of inspiration, so I have note books everywhere just in case.
BWW: What brought you to the combination of comedy and magic?
Charles: I am a comedic performer, it is only natural for me to perform comedic magic. Even if I had to try and perform a serious magic act... it would come out comedic.
I will never forget this very special moment in my life. In high school I used to perform at kids birthday parties. I used to wear a full black tuxedo, tails and all. Because that is what a magician is supposed to wear right? During my magical magic performance, this little girl in the front row (she must have been 5 or 6) looked up to me and said "You are the best clown that I have ever seen." I nearly burst out into tears right there and then. Here I am, wearing full evening dress trying to be a serious magician, but an innocent little girl could see straight through the disguise and give me a life lesson right there and then, mid performance.
BWW: Do you prefer live performances or being on film or TV, and why?
Charles: I have always tried to balance my life by trying to be 50% of the time in front of the camera and 50% of the time on a stage, but that doesn't always work out. I think that where I am in my life right now, I want to get back onto the stage more and in front of the camera a little less.
BWW: And finally, if you could go back in time (and the write up for your new show says you can...), what would you tell your younger self when you started out in the entertainment industry? One nugget of advice to help out those who are dreaming of making it in this crazy world.
Charles: The write up says that we would be testing this theory of time travel on stage... whether it is a possibility or not we will have to wait and see. With that said, if I truly could go back into time... what would I tell my younger self? Live in the moment. Forget what other people think, let their insecurities weigh them down, not you. Life shoots by at such a rapid pace that if you are not willing to take larger-than-life risks, you might one day be looking back at your life with regret and thinking "what if?".
Photo credit: Supplied
Charles Tertiens will be performing his PREMIUM LIVE SHOWCASE OF COMEDY MAGIC at The Protea Hotel Fire & Ice on Friday 25 October. The show starts at 8:15pm and tickets are R120. Book through Quicket.co.za.