THE MYSTERY TOUR

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Excited to announce my first North American tour is happening this summer! The show is about truth, the unknown, skepticism, and happiness.

I'm calling it: "THE MYSTERY TOUR".

I'll be taking the show on the road to the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the London Fringe in Ontario, the PortFringe in Maine, and the San Diego International Fringe Festival.

Show dates and times are as follows:


Orlando Fringe

May 19th @ 8:45pm (Purple Venue)
May 20th @ 10:00pm (Purple Venue)
May 21st @ 4:00pm (Purple Venue)
May 23rd @ 7:30pm (Purple Venue)
May 25th @ 7:00pm (Purple Venue)
May 27th @ 5:45pm (Purple Venue)
May 28th @ 12:45pm (Purple Venue)


London Fringe

June 1st @ 7:00pm (Procunier)
June 3rd @ 4:00pm (Procunier)
June 4th @ 3:30pm (Procunier)
June 5th @ 8:30pm (Procunier)
June 8th @ 9:30pm (Procunier)
June 9th @ 5:00pm (Procunier)


Port Fringe

June 18th @ 8:00pm (Geno's Rock Club)
June 20th @ 6:15pm (Geno's Rock Club)
June 21st @ 11:30pm (Geno's Rock Club)
June 23rd @ 7:15 pm (Fringe Central)
June 24th @ 5:30 pm (Fringe Central)


San Diego Fringe

June 26th @ 7:30pm (SD Art Institute)
June 29th @ 7:30pm (SD Art Institute)
June 30th @ 10:30pm (SD Art Institute)
July 1st @ 9:00pm (SD Art Institute)
July 2nd @ 1:00pm (SD Art Institute)


The show was named a "BEST BET" and received the "Audience Choice Award" at the 2017 FRIGID Festival in New York City. Here's what people have been saying:

"In these moments of storytelling and introspection, beautifully crafted monologues that would find a home in a Tennessee Williams script, Toland exposes a sincerity and vulnerability that only heightens the sense of wonder his illusions spark." - Theatre Is Easy
"Mark Toland brings warmth and humanity to a gimmick-less set of tricks that astounds and enchants." - Fringe Biscuit

Read the full review for the NYC FRIGID Festival show here.

Show dates and times are subject to change. All press inquiries should be directed to info (@) marktoland.com.

Relevance

I read a critic’s thoughts recently that formed the basis for this essay. Long story short, they were convinced that mentalism was no longer relevant and it wasn’t going to be around much longer.

Now, dear readers, for those of you who aren’t fully immersed in the dark arts like I am, let me explain what mentalism is. According to Wikipedia, mentalism is the branch of magic that deals with highly advanced mental abilities.

Clearly, as a mind reader this critic’s viewpoint really frustrated me.

After I read their opinion I fumed for an entire day. (It wasn't even about my show! I just can't stop thinking about things sometimes.) I was furious that someone thought my art form was becoming irrelevant. I happened to be traveling that day so I spent much of the afternoon alone in my room, pacing and playing a round of “if I was talking to that critic in person what would I say”. 

(Side note: I won that round.)

Then, something amazing happened. I heard a ping from my laptop across the room and walked over to discover a perfectly timed message waiting for me in my inbox. 

The e-mail was from an audience member who attended a recent show. I’ve redacted any personal information but here’s the body of the e-mail so you can read for yourself:

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This e-mail made my day.

See, the key to being relevant has nothing to do with your art form and everything to do with what you're trying to say. I'm constantly trying to share a part of me onstage - it just happens that mentalism is my vehicle for doing so.

I used to think I needed to tackle some big, lofty concepts in order to be an artist. I thought if I could somehow be smarter and more profound then that would help me fully relate to my audiences. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. The more personal and honest you make your performances, the more relevant they become.

It's like when a comedian makes a clever, observational joke about something really mundane and you laugh to yourself, thinking "That's so true!"

It's because deep down we all have the same personal experiences. We have the same hopes and fears and dreams and thoughts about life. We're all just doing our best to get through the day and sometimes we need art to remind us of that.

I can't speak for that "critic" but I can tell you what my audience is saying. I know because I listen to them after my shows.

They're moved and changed, inspired and enlightened, amazed and delighted. According to them, what I do is more relevant than ever.

According to them, that critic is wrong.

Triad

Everyone always loved Jessica. For as long as she could remember people told her she was going to be famous.

She was a standout onstage. A poised dancer, a beautiful singer. Her talents were equally matched by her simple beauty. She was always the leading lady, always the soloist, always the star.

Thanks to the constant encouragement and support of people around her, she blossomed at a young age. Her mentors had been grooming her for years and by the time she was 18 she had "made it".

She skipped college and went straight to Broadway. She dazzled the critics eight shows a week, earning rave reviews and nonstop praise.

"A prodigy!" they exclaimed and threw roses to the stage. Occasionally the show would take a break so she could shoot a movie or TV project, but even when the show was dark her name was still in lights. All of her dreams were coming true and she still had her whole life ahead of her.

Then, there was Stephen. He was born in the wrong time. His favorite singers were long gone and he would tell everyone he met that "they don't make movies like they used to."

But no one really paid attention to Stephen. It took months for his professors to remember his name and even longer to earn their respect. He struggled to decide what he wanted out of life.

He loved playing guitar but there was also creative writing and painting. He sang in an a cappella group and took pictures. There were so many things he wanted to do and not enough time.

Exhausted from wearing so many hats, Stephen closed off from the world for years. He wouldn't pursue a project for fear of something better coming along. Scared of wasting time doing something, he did nothing.

Then, Stephen had a lucky break. A friend of a friend passed one of his short films along to a festival. The reviews were glowing. Stephen didn't know it yet but he was about to make a big leap forward. He was a filmmaker, screenwriter, and composer now. All of his talents had come together in a strange, unforeseeable way.

And then there was Charles. By the time Charles could talk he knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"I want to be a rock star!" he'd say to family and friends. "I'm going to be famous!"

No one took Charles seriously, but he didn't care. He didn't have time for negativity because he was too busy working on his music. He'd pack out his mom's two car garage for a Saturday night concert and sell his album in the subway. With laser focus, he never lost sight of his dream.

Decades passed and Charles kept working, making small incremental progress towards his dreams. His albums sales slowly increased and his fan base grew. He paid his dues over and over and over again. Several hundred concerts later and he found himself seated on the couch next to Jessica and Stephen.

The host walked out, told a few jokes, then introduced the guests.

"Let's find out how you three ended up here tonight!" the host said.

Jessica, Stephen, and Charles shrugged. It didn't really matter how they'd gotten here. They were all in the same place now.