At his childhood home in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, Mike Robinson first saw a ventriloquist on television.
“My father explained to me that the gentleman threw his voice,” says Robinson. “It kind of triggered something. I thought that was a fascinating term, you know.
When he was about seven years old, a neighbor taught Robinson his first card trick.
A few years later, he picked up a puppet and began practicing ventriloquism – eventually appearing in Las Vegas and on cruise ships around the world.
“Ventriloquism is basically the art of speaking from your stomach,” says Robinson. “It’s a very guttural voice, and it’s very hard to tell where that voice is actually coming from.”
In the 1960s, comedians began using ventriloquism in their acts, Robinson says.
He says many people are fascinated by his puppets, including his own, Terence.
“I think people find it interesting,” he said. “It’s almost like a regression into childhood for adults.”
But sometimes the charm fades.
After a show in Amherst, Nova Scotia, a drunken heckler approached Robinson as he was loading gear into his car.
“I don’t have a problem with you, but this guy,” the heckler said, pointing to Terence.
“I guess he took it personally,” Robinson says.
Robinson and Terence perform at the Great Village Arts and Entertainment Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.