(Text, photos by Amit Charkavarty)
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” — taking a cue from Shakespeare, entrepreneur-magician Pravin Sonawane has converted the drawing room of his house into a studio and continued to entertain his viewers ‘live’ using his mobile phone amid the extended lockdown.
The gadgets used are simple: a three-legged flower vase for a tripod, rubber contraptions to hold the mobile phone in place, and a light atop it for a spotlight. While live-streaming a trick, Sonawane also uses a headphone to hear and interact with his virtual audience.
“This pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons, the most important being survival. In the event industry, which is currently closed, several people have started looking for alternate means of income. Whatever be the circumstances, one needs to remain alert and active. As an entertainer-magician, I think from the perspective of my craft. Live-streaming platforms have provided me a medium to continue to engage with my audience at least virtually,” Sonawane says.
Sonawane has live-streamed his shows on online platforms like Zoom, Meetup, Facebook and Instagram, usually with 50 or more viewers. A typical show starts with him pulling a pigeon out of a handkerchief, and gradually moves on to the more routine fire and card tricks. Throughout the show, Sonawane constantly interacts with his audience.
“Performing in front of a live audience and performing in front of a camera with a set of virtual audience are two different things. It is easier to perform in front of a live crowd as we can involve the audience in certain tricks to keep the interest going. However, working in a virtual environment, we always have to play mind games to keep the vibe alive. I have to constantly check all the windows on the mobile phone screen to see if everyone is listening and watching my performance. To remind them of my presence, I have to talk a lot more with the audience,” he says.
For now, the magician knows that there is very slim chance to perform on stage soon, but he is hopeful the events industry will resume operations ahead of Diwali and Christmas.
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