Friday, June 24, 2016

A Life in Capes: Meet Prince Jacob

Ever wonder who we are when we're not all decked out, entertaining your little ones with our mad face paint and balloon skills, or dazzling them with our big bag of magic tricks? We're a diverse group of folk, each coming from a different performance background, and with a little bit of a different story. 

Allow me to introduce: Prince Jacob!

Jacob caught the theater bug early! At 7 years old, he started at a new school, after struggling for years due to a learning disability (he didn't speak until he was 4, and was two years behind his peers in speaking and English). At this new school, Jacob was encouraged by his teachers and his family to join in on their annual plays, where every student contributed something. It was through these plays that Jacob started to come out of his shell, and conquer his disability. Jacob's first play was called Very Wrong Door, and was about a group of kids who find out their favorite park is about to be replaced by an arcade.  It was such a hit, a local newspaper picked up the story, and suddenly Jacob was very much in the spotlight. You'd think all that attention might be overwhelming for a 7 year old, but not for Jacob! All of a sudden, he was talking up a storm. More than that, he was confident! And he didn't stop there: all through elementary and high school, Jacob participated in every production he could, and found that when he had to be "on" in front of people, he was a rockstar! Over the years, it became clear that being social and interacting with people was what he was meant to be doing, and so Jacob the entertainer was born.

In college Jacob had been working as a server, but hadn't really been enjoying it. 

"There's no life in it!" he says, "I didn't feel like I was doing anything, or contributing to society. I was just working for a paycheck." During a production of Peter Pan, he met one of Fire Pixie's princess entertainers and Jacob was intrigued. "So, like a Clown?" he asked, to which Princess Lily replied "It's better!".  

So Jacob applied to Fire Pixie, and spent the entire night before his interview prepping. "I was so nervous!" he says, "I'd always been someone else's character, with scripts and direction and things. I'd never done most of this before." He needn't have worried though, it was clear within minutes that he was absolutely perfect. 

Fast forward to today, and Jacob is one of our most popular entertainers, and his party hosts absolutely love him! 


He plays a variety of different characters, but especially enjoys being Peter Pan or a Jedi. 

"When I'm Peter Pan, it's not like a clown going to the party. It's not just someone coming. It's PETER", says Jacob. True, Peter Pan has a following that kids just die for. "It's like he's a celebrity and they want to ask him all kinda of questions. Seeing how compassionate kids are about that character gives you hope for future generations. He's a really innocent character, so there's a great vibe throughout the party, and he's definitely a symbol of a growth of imagination." 

Jacob also loves being a Jedi, because he's a huge Star Wars fan himself and it's fun to share that with your party guests. 

"Jedi have this authority that's very looked up to." he says. "Kinda like a mentor, so a lot of times your shows turn in to a teaching lesson for kids on how to behave: focus, have discipline, determination and drive. Jedi are a symbol of dedication in practice. The kids know that, and when you start talking about the force, it's super believable for them. You get to teach kids a lot about respect, too. Kind of like teaching them a lifestyle of martial arts, and they're dedicated so they pay really close attention and really take a lot away."

Jacob works with kids of all ages, but particularly enjoys the 5 - 6 age group. 

"Older kids have a little more imagination and are a little more emotionally developed, but not at the age where they're questioning everything you do and trying to squash the magic. With 5 and 6 year olds, you can be more down to earth, but they still have the imagination and faith and believability in the characters."

Jacob does a ton of different activities and is a wonderfully energetic entertainer, a fantastic balloon twister, and has a top notch magic show.

"Magic is great because it's not about the destination. Kind of like life, it's all about the journey. Getting from point A to point B is boring, the adventure is in the process." 

Jacob says the laughter is his favorite part: 

"The whole process of trial and error and silliness; working together and figuring out how things work is great! Even though everything is going 'wrong' you get to go through it together, and that's the part kids love."

He also loves doing Jedi Training, of course, but his favorite activity might be the Scavenger or Treasure Hunt, "because they're usually not expecting it, so it's a fun surprise. As a parent you want to the kids' surprised face, and scavenger hunt gives yet another opportunity for that. Seeing kids work together is really cool too, instead of competing."

After hundreds of shows with Fire Pixie, Jacob has lots of wonderful memories:
Most recently, at a party where Jacob appeared as Captain America, he met Charlie, a newly 3 year old, who was obsessed with Captain America. 

"First thing he did was run to the kitchen and grab a bunch of pictures he'd drawn, and present them to me 'for keeps'. Then, he gave me the grand tour of the house, which concluded in his bedroom, where he showed me all his favorite toys. He was so proud, and obviously over the moon that Captain America had come for his party." 

When it was time for Jacob to leave, Charlie gave him a huge hug, and his dad asked him 

"What does Captain America say, Charlie?"  
"I'm Captain America and I'm going to save the day!"

And once, at a triple Star Wars party with our own Luma and Juliana, Jacob got an unexpected surprise: 

"We were in the middle of doing the magic show, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there's Darth Vader!" No one had mentioned that Vader was coming too, and he was being played by someone Jacob didn't recognize. "All the kids were going nuts and yelling at me to fight Vader." he says, "But I'd never met this guy before, and didn't want to just start attacking him!" Jacob shot a look to the hostess of the party, who seemed just as surprised as he was. Luckily, Luma and Juliana jumped right in and took over the magic, allowing Jacob to approach Vader and ask if it was OK for him to vanquish him. Vader was a good sport, and an epic battle ensued, with the kids cheering Jacob on the whole time.

After the event, we posted this great selfie from that day on our Facebook Page, and got a message in the comments from our Surprise Vader (who it turns out was a parent of one of the party guests, and a huge Star Wars fan), thanking Jacob, Juliana, and Luma for allowing him to live out one of his childhood dreams and be a part of the show. 

When Jacob's not training young padawans, or delighting kids and parents alike at parties, he's a full time student in HR (he might also go for a Masters in History, because he's a big history fan). He also works part time as a dispatcher for his family's appliance repair business. In what little free time he has, Jacob enjoys reading comics (Captain America was his favorite growing up), and spending time outdoors with his lovely girlfriend.

If you'd like to invite Jacob to teach your little ones the way of the force, and inspire them to follow their dreams, you can book him here.  

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