March 2019 Chatter

Posted at 28/02/19 - 07:42 PM

When you are involved in magic on a regular basis, either as a performer or even as an informed observer, it becomes increasingly difficult for magic effects to recreate in your mind that stunning feeling of total wonder that it can cause in the uninitiated.

If you think back to when you were a child, perhaps, and you experienced magic for the first time, those feelings of awe, amazement and the thrill of witnessing the impossible, would have really excited you. But as with any experience, the more you have it the more likely it is that you will become gradually immune to the effects of the situation, and so it is with magic.

Knowing how many tricks are done takes away that core feeling of amazement, and that is why many magicians can become somewhat jaded or blasé to the magic that they see. It becomes increasingly difficult for magic to surprise or thrill them—it’s like a drug that loses its impact due to an overdose!

Because of this situation, when something comes along that does genuinely surprise, on the whole magicians really love it! That’s why performers who create magic for magicians are forever striving to find at times complex and convoluted methods in order to fool those in the know. It’s the only way to excite the jaded palates of those sitting watching them.

However, when it comes to entertaining lay people, I think it pays to try and put yourself back into their shoes and try to imagine what impact your magic is going to have on them. Try to imagine how you felt the first time that you experienced it all, and then see if you can create a plot that will excite the spectators’ sense of amazement.

When you do this, it should lead you to realise that the plot and the way the trick actually looks is far more important than the method. Simple yet fooling handlings are perfect for creating memorable magical moments, which is why most full time pros, who work repeatedly for lay people, search out practical uncomplicated workings.

If you get too involved with intricate methodology, there’s the danger that you can lose sight of those elements of the trick which give it its magical power. Too much process, or too complicated a path leading to the magical moment, only serves to reduce the overall impact for a lay audience, thus spoiling their appreciation of what you are performing.

I must admit I love to be fooled these days. Particularly when even attempting to use my magical knowledge to deconstruct an effect still leaves me with no tangible clues as to how the illusion was achieved. I like it because it helps me to appreciate all over again just what it must be like for lay people to witness my magic for the first time. It’s like being returned to the innocence of childhood again just for a few moments.

There are those lay people who are obsessed with trying to catch out the magician and who spend the whole of a performance hell bent on discovering the secrets behind the magic. And I think it’s a pity to behave like this, because they are denying themselves one of life’s true pleasures, that moment when you see something that you simply can’t explain.

Author: Mark Leveridge

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