Article 9: Knights of the Round Table
FELICE LING (CURRENT MEMBER)
BENJAMIN BARNES - ROUND TABLE MEMBER SINCE 2018
In this series of articles, I will shine the proverbial spotlight on members of the Chicago Magic Round Table both past and present. This month’s subject is Felice Ling. Felice is one of the few women performing street magic today. A former resident of Chicago, now living in Boston, Felice practices her street theater around the world. This is her story.
Felice Ling became interested in magic as a child, after watching her older brother apparently remove his thumb and then restore it. That introduction to the world of illusion was followed by a string of magic kits received for birthdays and holidays.
After entering middle school, Felice took a break from magic. This lapse was short-lived.
During her freshman year in high school, Felice’s English teacher gave her an assignment that rekindled her interest in magic. Felice and her classmates had to craft creative presentations to illustrate the meanings of vocabulary words taught in each week’s class. Felice found a way to use magic to communicate information in ways that were both memorable and entertaining. She fell in love with the combination of magic and creativity, and she took it to a most unlikely place: the street!
While she admits that performing on the street is “really hard,” Felice persists because she values the immediate feedback she gets from the audience, which allows her to consistently improve as a performer. Felice also loves interacting and engaging with strangers — which surprises her, given how awkward she feels when not performing. Felice says, “A teacher of mine once explained that performing, in all its iterations, is ultimately an excuse for us to spend time with one another.”
The greatest lesson Felice has learned thus far is to be “in character” and “authentic” simultaneously. “I’m a horrible actor. If I try to be anyone other than myself, audiences can sense it and I’ll lose them,” she explains.
Felice has seen a lot of loud, high-energy street acts and she knows just how effective they can be. That made the first time she saw a successful street show that she describes as “quiet” so inspiring. The experience taught her that she can be calm, quirky, and weird and still convey “energy.” She realized that as long as she is entertaining and engaging, she doesn’t have to be loud to succeed.
And succeed she has! If you haven’t seen Felice perform on the streets of Boston, Edinburgh, or Adelaide, be on the lookout — you just might see her performing at the Chicago Magic Lounge!