Scott Silven is twenty-eight years old, and is one of the most successful illusionists in the business, having studied hypnosis in Milan at fifteen and headlining a show in UK at twenty-one. He just closed out his sold-out, acclaimed 12-week engagement at The Heath at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, last week. At the Illusionist’s Table has shocked and awed crowds and critics alike and will return to the McKittrick in September. We are both excited (and a little intimidated) to have Scott Silven staring into our souls On the Couch!
What do you consider to be your best asset?
My curiosity. I see possibilities everywhere and I seek out new experiences. But this level of observation also allows me to be highly attuned to others emotions, to build strong relationships, and to hopefully live an examined life.
What was your proudest moment?
Selling out the run of my off-Broadway show on my first time in NYC. It’s been a childhood dream to perform in the city and for it to be so positively received by the press and public has been really fulfilling.
What is your favorite drink?
Old Fashioned – elegant and understated.
What is your favorite food?
Italian. The food speaks so clearly of the culture. Every region of Italy has its own distinctive style and wonders are created from fresh and simple ingredients. It’s my constant.
What is your favorite condiment?
Sriracha – it works on everything.
What is your current obsession?
Dazzle Ships. I won’t say anymore. Just look it up and I promise you it’ll be one of the most intriguing things you’ve read about or seen.
If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?
Sugar. The bane of my existence. I’ve had a love affair with sugar as a kid, and now I’m actively trying to curb my consumption. Not a fun task…
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
My objective has always been about getting my work out to the widest audience possible, so to find a good balance between creating theatrical and television experiences that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the work.
What is the one thing you waste too much money on?
Dining out. I travel constantly and I love experiencing new places. It’s an indulgence, but something I don’t think I could change.
What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?
Waiting in airports – the downside of travel. The upside is that the solitude is great for creativity, it gives my mind time to wander.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
Air pollution. When I’m not touring, I spend most of my time living between London or New York – both of which have a horrendous quality of air.
What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Contentment. My family has always pushed me to strive to achieve my goals, but at the same time remember to live to enjoy each moment and be satisfied with each achievement. It’s very easy to get caught up in the entertainment industry, but I’ve learned to really appreciate each success and not be blind-sided by the next opportunity.
What is the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Punctuality. I need a team of people around me to make sure I get to something on time. Promptness is not one of my virtues.
What in the world most thrills you?
Travel. I’m incredibly lucky to have a career that allows me to see the world on a frequent basis. Each month is an unexpected voyage; a chance to meet new people and immersive myself in different cultures.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
Superhero movies. Shallow visuals, bland scores, inane characterization. Anything that compromises great storytelling is something that gets under my skin.
What was the single most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced on the job?
In one of my first stage shows early in my career, we had a tech failure that caused a power outage in the building. We had to keep the audience waiting a couple of hours in a cramped foyer (which didn’t have a bar) and in the end we had to cancel the show. It was truly awful to see people who had traveled to see my work be treated in that way.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Right now, New York City. I’ve grown up with the aesthetic of the city culture as a kid, and it’s rare to find a place that entirely lives up to your expectations. I’ve fallen in love with it.
What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?
Openness. To share your emotional life with someone is truly important. You have to feel safe to share your vulnerabilities and allow your emotions to flow freely. It ultimately strengthens and deepens your connection with them.
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
Dogs. Because, of course, they definitely practice openness in their relationship. Cats are a little too aloof for my liking.
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
I try to live every day as having the potential of being the best day of my life. To be present in the moment, to be open to opportunity, and to find experiences that allow me to grow as a person.
What is your personal motto?
Have courage, be bold, let the story unfold.