Derren Brown is in pursuit of happiness.
And he reckons the answer rests in an ancient Greek philosophy. Stoicism. More an attitude of acceptance than simply putting up and shutting up.
Nothing quite compares to spending a stolen afternoon assembling your thoughts and finding the best language for them
It’s a strangely engrossing conversation to be having with one of Britain’s most famed illusionists – and it seems almost low brow to start asking about the show.
That’s Derren Brown: Miracle at the Opera House tomorrow and Saturday.
There are more facets to Brown than ‘entertainer’ and his new book Happy, due out in Autumn, is just one. He’s the undisputed master of illusion but also enjoys a vanishing act in his own right - the last time he came to Blackpool he booked a beach hut so he could take time out between shows and write.
“Nothing quite compares to spending a stolen afternoon assembling your thoughts and finding the best language for them,” he adds.
He’s been touring for 14 years and writes a new show every two years and hopes for a proper break next year.
His book has been a real labour of love.
“I feel I’m at my best when I write. The challenge is to bring three years’ worth of thought and writing into something that hangs together well.”
As an illusionist he’s no stranger to a resort which has helped map out the career of magicians the world over through the annual international conventions.
Derren’s Miracle is no parlour trickery but illusions on a grand scale.
He abandoned a career in law to develop psychological magic, paying the bills by performing in cafes and bars - developing an addiction to coffee shops, if not caffeine along the way.
His big break came via Channel 4’s Mind Control - his own creation - in 2000.
His unique brand of suggestion, showmanship and illusions delight (and disturb) millions the world over.
Blackpool holds a special place in his affections.
“It’s always amazing to play the Opera House, phenomenal to stand on that stage and feel the energy of the audience and acoustics of the building.
In some theatres you only hear the first five rows - in Blackpool you hear the lot.
It’s very forgiving too. You feel the audience is largely on your side. My show depends entirely on audience participation. It’s like writing a play with the main character missing.”