Saturday, June 2, 2012

Magic Tricks and the Magical Performance

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If you wish to be a Magician, you have to do more than learn a few Magic Tricks. The trick is the mechanical detail of the effect; to be a Magician, you have to PERFORM!

You have to turn the Magic Trick into a Magical Effect. Make your audience believe that you just did the impossible - however simple you know the trick to be, the effect on your audience is what matters. They have to believe that you just produced a card out of thin air, made a coin enter a sealed can of Coke, restored a torn up newspaper - whatever the trick - if your audience don't believe that you actually did it, you have failed.

One of the best ways is to weave a story around the magic trick. I once saw a famous magician slide a knot off a piece of rope and make it disappear. Very slick. He picked up the rope, tied a knot and then ran his hand down the length of the rope and the knot had vanished. 5 seconds in the middle of an hour long stage show. I forgot about the trick until some years later when a close-up performer did the same trick for me. He took 5 minutes over it; told a story about Harry Potter walking along a river bank and meeting an old sailor who challenged him to a knot tying contest ... the effect was somewhat embellished but basically the same trick, and I remembered it - use it myself, now!

The point is; make it interesting rather than clever; better yet, make it amusing if you can. The public know that there is no such thing as Magic (well, OK - MOST of them know it ... there are a few odd-balls out there!) and so they realise, at the back of their minds, that we are fooling them. No one likes to be fooled but they will forgive you if you amuse them, entertain them, at the same time.

You don't have to be Tommy Cooper; it would not be a good thing if the entire Magic profession suddenly turned into comediens! Lighten your act; throw in a few jokes at appropriate points, perform some comical effects amid the more 'serious' ones. Above all, remember that you are an entertainer; try not to make your act a showcase for your own cleverness. Entertain and amuse your audience and they will want more. Prove to them how clever you are and they will clap but not care if they don't see you again.

The Magic Trick is just the method. The Magical Effect is the performance of that method in an entertaining and convincing way. If you 'do magic tricks', you are a technician; perform Magical Effects and you are a Magician.

Andy Canning has created a Website for fellow magicians - amateur or professional - at where he offers free magic tricks for you to learn and sources for all your magical needs.

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