Q&A: World-champion juggler will bring his 4D show to Fairfield

As an International Juggling Champion, Mark Nizer has taken his one-man show to thousands of venues around the world. CONTRIBUTED

Mark Nizer, a world-champion juggler, award-winning comedian and inventor will perform at the Fairfield Community Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under.

Audiences can expect a concert-like experience that incorporates light, sound and color to create a multi-dimensional experience. Combining interactive video and live performance, 4D elements of the show include dueling pianos, robots, Laser Diabolo (a 4D light show) and more.

As an International Juggling Champion, Nizer has taken his one-man show to thousands of venues around the world, including performances at the world-famous Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, The Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He’s also performed with George Burns, Bob Hope and Ray Charles, among others. We spoke with Nizer to find out what fans can expect from his Fairfield show.

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Q: What’s in store for audiences at the Fairfield Community Arts Center?

A: I've been working on this show since I was 12 years old. I'm a comedian and a juggler, if you get down to the core of what it is, but to me, comedy is the key to entertainment. I don't think juggling is necessarily going to win the hearts and minds of people, but when you combine it with great comedy, it becomes a fun evening. The cool thing that I've become passionate about in my shows are some of the interesting technological elements that I've added. Everyone should bring their cell phone or iPad with them, for example, because I take over the cell phones, and they become lighting instruments in the show. … It's a beautiful experience when the whole audience is synchronized, and we're painting light in the room. The show in Fairfield is my new show, which uses 4D glasses … my 4D show uses color as a fourth dimension.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to incorporate technology?

A: I did college gigs for many years, and I was frustrated, because I'd get to a beautiful theater, and nobody knew how to control the lights or anything, or even how to turn them on or off. So, I learned how to do that by having to understand it. Then, once I understood I could use a computer to do it, I thought, "What else is possible?" It opened up a whole other world of creativity. So, when I think of a new idea now, I don't just think of it as a juggling trick, or how it's going to move, I think about what video I would use, could I use lasers, and what sound would be coming out of it? It has made it a lot more interesting from a creative point of view.

Q: You’re extremely talented and it seems like juggling comes naturally for you. Is it challenging to juggle light?

A: Juggling happens so fast that if you come to a place where you're trying to perform it, and you have to think about it, it's too late. I've done it so much, and so long, and rehearsed it for ridiculous amounts of time that it's automatic. Not that I won't make mistakes, but I've tried so hard to make it just be a feeling, instead of an action, so that it can happen on it's own. As far as juggling light, it's similar to juggling fire. You stop juggling the fate of the prop, and you just juggle the light or the fire. It does make it look cool. I am still looking at something, but I'm using the light's position to tell me where the prop is, and not (focusing) so much the handle, or the thing I'm going to catch. That allows me to put lights in weird places, and lasers, in particular, are interesting, because they are so precise.

Q: Who was your biggest mentor early on? At what point did you know you’d pursue this as a career?

A: There's a comedian named Bob Hope. He was a mentor, and he helped me launch my career. I always loved the performing aspect, and all of the sudden, I was making enough money to live on, and I never looked back. That was when I was 18 or 19 years old.

HOW TO GO

What: World-champion juggler, award-winning comedian and inventor Mark Nizer to perform 4D

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1

Where: Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield

Admission: Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under. Call the FCAC Box Office at (513) 867-5348 or purchase tickets online at www.fairfieldoh.gov/tickets. Part of the EnterAct Family Series, the performance is sponsored by Journal-News, Courtyard Marriott, and funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

More info: www.fairfield-city.org.

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