Profile: Priscilla Khong
Things don’t always go to plan; But sometimes, whilst balancing 3-metres above a stage on a live television show with thousands of onlookers around the world – you don’t want a plan to go wrong. Unfortunately for Singaporean illusionist Priscilla Khong, it did.
Falling face first onto the platform, an exasperated Priscilla didn’t even know what hit her (or what she hit). Hurt but undeterred, she regained her composure and called for the crew to lift her back up onto the Impale (a pointy stake that easily pierces anything) to complete the trick.
“I got back up and said let’s do it again! It’s a live show, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” she shrugs as she recounts the fall.
The 34-year-old magician is part of a duo that’s been performing together for 15 years –her partner being her father, Lawrence Khong, 63. Their career has brought them to countries like Japan, China, and even the USA for various international productions.
UrbanWire caught up with Priscilla ahead of “VISION 2015”: their million-dollar illusion-theatre production, still running since its inception 4 years ago.
What’s The Magic of Magic?
Having started her professional career in magic as an assistant at one of her father’s shows in 2000 at the age of 19, she confesses that she was never a big fan of magic at the start. She felt it was too easy to see through the tricks. Eventually though, it bought her over.
“My mind has been wired so that I like to take shortcuts. I like to do things differently. That’s why magic sits with me.”
Not The Smoothest Dynamic
You would think that camaraderie between the two is a given especially when you have to trust the other when performing life-threatening stunts. And well, also because they’re related by blood.
But according to Priscilla, that wasn’t always the case. As Lawrence worked and travelled often, Priscilla only spent time with her dad during dinner on Sundays.
Because of this, performing together the first couple of times was “weird”.
“’Father and daughter’ is like a status, a title that’s given to us. This is your position, and this is your role. You have to come to a point whereby you both are friends. He’s still my father but he’s also my friend,” she admits.
“I don’t think I was nervous, per se, to perform, but more like I was nervous to perform with my father at that point of time. If I asked you to dance with your dad, it’s weird right? It just feels so strange,” a chirpy squint on her eyes appearing as she speaks. “It took us getting to know one another as people.”
The Next Generation
As opposed to Priscilla, her son, Isaac, got his start in the world of magic far earlier than she did. When he was 5 weeks old, Priscilla brought him to his first show that his mum performed in and he’s been to every one of them ever since. He even went on stage as her assistant at the age of 6. But unlike his mum and his grandfather, he doesn’t feel weird to be on stage with her.
“No I don’t think (that he thinks it’s weird)! We have a very close relationship. But I never know, he’s still 12. When he becomes a teenager that all might change,” she jokes.
And it’s unlikely we’ll see the magic duo turn into a trio anytime soon, because according to her, Isaac wants to be professional YouTuber. Well, don’t we all!
More Than Just Magic
Aside from the magic, Lawrence has recently been in the limelight for instigating the Wear-White campaign amongst fellow Christians, rendering his thoughts on Pink Dot extremely clear. We were told to skip the questions on the recent controversy prior to the interview, but UrbanWire asked Priscilla if she or her son ever feels pressured not to wear pink, for fear of being misunderstood because of her father’s public stand.
“Huh? Do I not wear pink because there’s something called the Pink Dot? No what! I still wear pink clothes lah!” Touché. It is just a colour, isn’t it?
In an article on CharismaMag, Lawrence mentioned that he used his magic shows as a platform to introduce certain religious beliefs and “good Christian values” to others. The writer is slightly puzzled by this notion, as the art of magic is commonly associated with the nature of being untrue and illusionary. Priscilla was quick to inform us that “VISION” is a totally commercial, non-religious show.
“For us as Christians, we believe that for everything we do, we want to be able to share our faith with other people. It’s not that magic is the only way we do things. I think I share my faith and relationship with God just on a more one-on-one basis than doing it in a show,” she explains. “It doesn’t mean we use all our magic shows to spread religion, that’s not true.”
Reading The Future
One of Priscilla’s main focuses, apart from performing her current shows, is to build the local magic community to give younger magicians a platform to perform. She is currently working towards launching a new 980-seat theatre, as well as a project titled “Magic Warehouse”.
She explains the rationale of ‘Magic Warehouse”: “I hope to create a space for everybody in the magic industry. I want to be a neutral platform that says look ‘I support you, and I want to help you guys grow.’”
Her purpose is admirable and her cheery personality comes to life whenever she talks about giving back to the community or her son. Priscilla also has another goal: to have a show of her own.
“I would like to continue pushing the barriers of magic and storytelling. And I feel that me being able to do my own show, I would be able to show my ideas, visions of what magic is to me, at least.”
VISION 2015 will be held at the Esplanade from the 3rd to 12th July, tickets are on sale at SISTIC now.
Have you caught any of Lawrence and Priscilla’s shows? Tell them what you think about them in the comments below!