Regardless of how old we are, watching a magician perform is always a fascinating treat. The oohs and aahs that a nifty magic trick generates is, more often than not, well-earned.
But despite its very high entertaining value, there’s not too many magic shows that we can watch on our TV screens as of late. Hopefully, that’s about to change next month when “The Magic of Science”, an all-new series featuring jaw-dropping illusions performed by an ensemble of fresh, innovative magicians in front of live spectators, premieres on Discovery Channel.
One of the members of this new ensemble happens to be Filipina-Canadian Billy Kidd, a former dancer who only started to pursue a career in magic at age 21. Born Gia Anne-Marie Felicitas, Billy was recently in town to promote “The Magic Of Science” and treated select members of the entertainment media to some of her spellbinding tricks.
“It was really late in my life when I discovered magic,” she told InterAksyon after her 10-minute set at Buddha Bar. “When I was 18, my best friend who I used to dance with showed me a magic trick, and I couldn’t stop laughing.”
Three years later, Billy encountered a magician performing on the street. That’s when she knew what she really wanted to do.
“I fell in love with magic even more after seeing his tricks. He asked me more to read and learn more about magic and from then, it was all about magic for me,” she confessed.
But even as she found success performing her own brand of street magic, Billy admits her very first magic show remains one of the most unforgettable for her.
“My first show was with this kid who was my friend. We started magic at the same time and then we decided to do a show in my backyard. We then invited our neighbors, everybody we knew. It was a lot of fun and a big learning experience for me. And there are tricks that I performed in that show that I still do today,” she fondly recalled.
Even though she has done her share of illusions, Billy said her specialty is close-up magic with coins, cards and many foreign objects. “I also do stage magic but not illusions.”
Of the four featured performers in “The Magic of Science”, she and Briton Ben Hanlin are the ones who do street magic the most while American Wayne Houchin and Australian James Galea are the ones who perform the more dangerous stunts.
Not that she doesn’t do her share of dangerous tricks, mind you. Billy said swallowing needles, which she performs from time to time, is certainly something she does not recommend to anyone to try at home. Nor does her relatively safer Houdini-inspired trick of escaping from a straitjacket. “Sometimes I do struggle so that can be quite dangerous as well,” she admitted.
Speaking of struggling, has she ever made mistakes when performing her tricks?
“I make mistakes all the time,” she confessed. “The important thing is that the audience should never know when a magician made or is making a mistake. That’s when your knowledge and repertoire to get out of that situation will come into play.”
As for her stint in “The Magic of Science” which took place in New York, London, and Warsaw where they were filmed with the help of both hidden and open cameras for the largest possible impact, Billy can only describe it as “an amazing, amazing experience”.
Each feat is backed by real science, with an explanation and breakdown to prove it. Episodes begin with impromptu tricks captured by hidden cameras and culminate in full-scale, elaborate stunts in a melding of yes, magic and science. The result is a blending of theatrical exhibition and empirical principles, bolstered by the before and after reactions of the audience.
While Billy has performed for audiences as celebrated as the prime minister of Canada and Michael Jackson’s band in London, she declares that very young children remain the most difficult to please.
“Magic is not really meant to perform for very young children simply because most of them have not seen magic before and may not yet appreciate its entertainment value,” she pointed out.
But has she ever tried her magic on the men she has dated or is still dating? Billy, who is still single, replied in the affirmative.
“Yes, but they don’t know what is happening,” she replied with a naughty smile.
A brand-new nine-part series, “The Magic of Science” premieres on Discovery Channel every Wednesday at 11PM starting March 6. There will be encores every Thursdays at 4PM, Saturdays at 5PM and Sundays at 12PM and 8PM.