As you probably already know by now, I really like discovering new acts here in our fair state. Sometimes it takes me a while to find them, though. Such is the case with this week’s interview with Norman Ng, a magician who will perform at Johnson Hall this coming Saturday night, May 14. I reached him at his home in Bar Mills recently by phone. Here is his story. I think you’ll find it fascinating.

Q: Have you performed at Johnson Hall before?

Ng: No, this is my first time. I’ve known of Mike Miclon, executive artistic director, for a long time, but my tour schedule of the past has kept me away from Maine for such periods of time I never had the opportunity until now.

Q: Oh, so how far afield do you go with your touring?

Ng: I purposely stick to the continental U.S. I’ve had a lot of offers to perform in Europe and other places. However, I have four kids. One of them you might be able to hear in the background, so I’ve always tried to stay within Canada and the U.S.A.

Q: Have you performed in Maine before?

Ng: Oh, yes, I’ve performed in several places: the Westbrook Performing Arts Center, Portland Stage Company Theater, the Stonington Opera House.

Q: How long have you been doing this magic stuff?

Ng: I’ve been performing now for 24 years. I started when I was 8 years old.

Q: Obviously, you enjoy what you do.

Ng: Oh, absolutely.

Q: What can folks expect at your Johnson Hall performance?

Ng: They can expect lots of energy. I’m kind of known for having crazy, spikey hair and having lots of adrenalin-type energy flowing through me. So, I’ll be smashing people’s cell phones with baseball bats, making bowling balls appear. It’s a very interactive, high-energy show that above and beyond will blow your mind. There are a lot of magicians out there who try to combine magic with comedy or magic with stories or magic with music. I combine magic with comedy, too, but in my mind the end goal is to completely fry your brain. So, everything I do will be funny, but above all it’ll be amazing.

Q: Are you coming up with new stuff all the time?

Ng: Oh, I sure am, yeah. So, every year I typically come up with about 20 minutes of new material. I’m always working on new tricks, developing new ideas and introducing them in my show.

Q: Have you done anything television-wise?

Ng: I’ve done the Penn & Teller (show), I’ve consulted a little bit with other performers who have been on “America’s Got Talent,” but I typically shy away from TV as a medium for magic. I’m kind of the more old-school magician … thinking that you get a more fulfilling experience seeing it live, so I’ve always tried to focus on that.

Q: I can understand that. I mean, on television today they can do so much visually that seems like magic.

Ng: Oh, absolutely. And it’s just a completely different environment to see a magician work live and utilize the actual tools of misdirection and psychology in an area where I don’t force your perspective (that) makes it that much more amazing. Like if you want, you can look at my other hand, you can try to look from different angles, and I will still blow your mind.

Q: I love it. It sounds like you have fun doing that, as well.

Ng: Oh, absolutely. Every show — even though it’s the same for me — the audience makes it different every time. You see, I view my shows as a conversation rather than just a scripted performance, like a play. I feed off the audience. Anything unique that happens during the show, which always does, I have a way of encouraging unique moments, and then I react differently. It’s a completely organic experience. I hope a lot of the younger people growing up now get to experience live theater in that way because you can’t experience that watching a TV or watching a computer, so it gets me very excited because you and the audience share a one-hundred-percent unique moment that will never ever be repeated. That’s what’s so beautiful about it.

Q: And I agree with that 100 percent. How long have you lived in Maine?

Ng: I was born and raised in Portland, and then after high school I moved out to California for a while. I’ve lived here my whole life except for six years. Maine’s a good place to be. I’m completely isolated from the magic community. I don’t know what the newest magic whiz-bang gadgets are, and it works to my advantage. Like I have a completely fresh perspective living out here in the woods of Maine in my own creative zone.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article about your debut at Johnson Hall in Gardiner?

Ng: I’m ready for an interactive adventure. Sit in the front, relax and prepare to be amazed. It’s good for all ages, too. A lot of people think that magic shows are just for little kids. My primary demographic for the last 10 years has been the 18- to 30-year-old crowd, so if you have a skeptical teenager in your family, bring them along and I will blow their mind. They’ll be laughing the whole time. Even the hard-to-please people, bring them along. It’s not a kiddie show. It’s appropriate for families, but it’ll amaze everybody.

Lucky Clark has spent 47 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.