Sawyer Stanley knows a thing or two about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
“My mom used to leave chore lists out on the table,” said the 19-year-old magician from Sussex, New Brunswick. “The magic tricks were kind of way to get those chores done faster. They started out like life hacks almost, and then turned into magic.”
In those early days, Stanley was learning magic from YouTube videos. Among the magicians Stanley was watching on YouTube were Criss Angel, David Blaine, and Shin Lim (who won this year’s America’s Got Talent). Eventually, the young magician moved away from YouTube to books.
“You get so much from one book,” Stanley said about the transition. “Plus, it’s not as common. People aren’t learning tricks from books anymore. You’re learning things that aren’t out there.”
Stanley booked his first public performance last December at a local restaurant. He performed tableside magic for guests. “It went great. I went back a couple times to do it.”
At the start of 2018, Stanley’s mentor Tabraze Sheikh (of The Modern Mind Readers) encouraged him to apply for the Fundy Fringe Festival in Saint John.
“He said you should put your show in. I ended up being the fourth name drawn for the regional acts, so that was awesome”
That show was (Extra)Ordinary Day.
With help from his mentor, Stanley developed (Extra)Ordinary Day after reconsidering his approach to magic performance.
“I had to find a niche, that was the first thing,” said Stanley. “I was doing shows, but it was tricks thrown together.”
Stanley asked himself: “If I had magic powers for real, what would those powers entail?”
The answer? Practical magic.
“You’re never going to see something in the show and go, why did he do that?” Stanley said. “There’s no, why did he pull a bunny out of a hat?”
(Extra)Ordinary Day stages a day in the life of a magician. The show is a “mix between a magic show and a theatre show” where “every trick has its place” in the story.
Before its run at the Fundy Fringe Festival, (Extra)Ordinary Day premiered at home in Sussex. According to Stanley, the debut “didn’t go exactly as planned,” but he learned something valuable from the experience.
“I was kinda bummed about it after the show,” Stanley said. “Everyone still seemed to enjoy it. It was a big lesson in perspective.”
Undeterred, Stanley reworked the script and added a new routine to the show.
(Extra)Ordinary Day won the Fundy Fringe Festival’s Fan Favourite Award.
“It was incredibly flattering, “ Stanley said about accepting the award. “I had nothing [to say] because I didn’t expect anything, so I said thank you a bunch of times and sat back down.”
(Extra)Ordinary Day returns to Sussex on December 29th. The show will be presented at the All Seasons Inn and Restaurant (Banquet Room). Tickets are $12 or $10 with a non-perishable donation (in support of the Sussex Sharing Club).
The bar opens at 6:30pm. Show starts at 7:30pm.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the venue.
To learn more about Sawyer Stanley: https://www.facebook.com/sawyerstanleymagic/