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As I start preparing Invisible Tango, which opens next year at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, I thought this could be an interesting project to share some of my creative process. Nothing of what I will say here are rules. Things evolve naturally as I find myself interested in certain aspects of the performance of magic and how I can share it with the audience.

It all starts with a simple idea. It can be a visual one that later becomes something I can express in words, or a sentence, a concept that later turns into something impossible. From that idea, I understand how better to tie it up with a simple magic moment. A dream moment, something I don’t really need to have an answer to. It needs to be a perfect metaphor for that idea, that entity that triggers it all.

In a certain sense, this marriage is probably the most magical part of the creative process. There are no rules for it; it is just a trial and error procedure that can take months or years. I had the initial idea for Invisible Tango around 5 years ago but only found the perfect metaphor for it a few years later. No system and no method, just a magic moment that, for me, sums it all.

In Borrowed Time, for example, the idea was the importance of memories to experience the present moment. That idea was orally expressed near the end, after a memory demonstration finale with a personal story about my grandmother and her fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The dichotomy between what I just did and what I said was how the ideas linked into a surprising but inevitable moment.

What makes a perfect moment for me? Besides having the spectators’ intellectual reasoning about the moment set aside in the end, the other part of it relies a bit on intuition. Having a vision of the feeling I want the moment to inspire, how I see the type of environment where it will be performed, and how I want the audience to experience it, there is a “click” that happens that allows for the simple moment to appear. Like I said, it’s the most magical moment of the creative process.

What is the next step? To take that idea and metaphor to the drawing board.

Helder Guimaraes