Half a century ago, a Moomba magic trick changed his life

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Magician Sam Angelico has been performing for more than 50 years.

Magician Sam Angelico has been performing for more than 50 years.

Angelico has been teaching magicians online during the pandemic and recording a series of reflective conversations and performances with Skiffington.

He doesn’t think of himself as a senior but has accumulated a few tips to pass on to would-be illusionists.

“I tell my students that every magician is essentially an actor who’s chosen to play the role of a magician,” he says. “I’ve always considered myself to be a funny-looking little guy so I do what comes naturally.

“My act is very comic and character driven. I interpret the art of magic and each performer has to find that part of them that makes their work unique. I can’t say the magic I perform hasn’t been seen before but I put my own flavour on it.

“Also, you have to be well prepared and learn from your mistakes.”

Another lesson he’s learnt is to not feel obliged to suddenly do a trick when asked, which often happens. But he does make sure to have a deck of playing cards handy.

“Magicians play with them every day – but magic is theatre,” he says. “We shouldn’t do it on the spot. It’s like asking a ballet dancer to dance: you wouldn’t do it.”

Victorian Seniors Festival manager Chris Reidy says the success of last year’s online version of the festival prompted him to keep all acts available free this year.

“By the time we get to December this year we’ll have 60 posts of video and radio performance programs,” Reidy says. “There are 1.1 million seniors card holders in Victoria with diverse interests and, like me, if you enjoyed something when you were 20, you probably still do when you’re older.

“We entered this year’s programming with a number of themes. One of them was inter-generational. There’s great respect and understanding between generations so we have often united different age groups in the programming.”

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There is a conversation between chef Elizabeth Chong, now in her 90s, and her granddaughter, opera singer Teresa Duddy. In another, a 15-year-old girl conducts online music lessons.

“One of our core aims is to celebrate the contribution of older people,” Reidy says. “We need to take every opportunity to put that contribution out there.”