02 Aug 2013
Nickname: High Jinx
So what has happened? Well we had a December meeting in November. That's magic. This month lasted six weeks. Oh what a strange strange life we live.
Even stranger, at our last meeting our members performed and transposed listeners and watchers to doers. It was a great evening.
I read Colin Goughs report on the (leeds Magical Association) LMA show. Two points on the write up of my act struck me. One that the act was 'born' 50 years ago (actually 45 but who's counting) and that the magic content was obscure. It was not meant to be magic it was meant to be entertainment. In my opinion, this is the priority. The act has been re-incarnated several times in 45 years to suit evolving audiences. At first it would bring the house down. For a period it absolutely died and I think it is gaining ground again. "Practice, practice and more practice" Colin said. I certainly have not practiced daily for 45 years. When I haven't performed it for some time, I will rehearse daily for about three weeks before the show, video it and watch old videos of it.
I am pushing the entertainment bit over the magical bit because that is what attracts the punters. I recently saw some fantastically clever magic that I could never do, but one trick lasted nearly fifteen minutes and was directed at the performer, not his audience. I was bored. The magician was technically superb but as an entertainer, I am not so sure. He could and probably will be as he learns his stagecraft as well as his moves. Last year we had arranged for a lay director to come and talk to us. Alas he could not come on a regular meeting day and we knew how difficult it would have been to get some members to attend on a non-meeting day. It was cancelled. What a great shame!!
An act born 45 years ago is an infant compared to the oldest trick in magic.. The Cups and Balls. The cups and balls have been going for yonks but still entertains and mystifies audiences when it is done well. I visited London's South Bank recently and spent an afternoon watching three street entertainers / magicians. Each one did the cups and balls. Each had their audience in stitches and amazed them and each made a good living. Why? They played to the crowd and knew their craft backwards.
So what am I trying to say? Well forget that you are magicians. Learn your tricks. Learn your moves. But then concentrate on presentation and projection. Don't mumble to yourself. Talk to, not at, your audience and you will wow them.
To finish make each member of the audience think you are playing to them. As an example, just watch Ross Risdon. At his tender age he has stage presence, magical ability and is a superb entertainer. See you next month