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Friday, November 25, 2011

Why? Performing arts ....

Often the first thing that comes to mind when seeing a magician perform is ..... why? Why are they doing what they are doing, what are they trying to communicate, are they reaching me in some manner? Do they make me think, feel, laugh? If not then why not? That's part of the challenge with a lot of magic, there is no why, no logic, no story, no reason, to attempt to engage the audience, to capture their imagination and hearts, even with a simple plot .

Magic is a PERFORMING ART, it is LIVE THEATER. Too often it's just someone standing there doing something I'm supposed to be amazed by. Look at the big box tricks of a typical Vegas show, if there is no build up or story then why are they sawing a woman in parts for the 12,000,000,000th time? How am I supposed to care if they catch fire, get blown up or suffer dismemberment if I don't care about them first?

There are a very few manipulation acts that can entrance you and amaze you with with just their manipulations. Rocco Silano comes to mind. Even so his work has structure, a flow, it has heart and watching Rocco you can't help but like him. The average magician would benefit with more thought to the why of what they are doing, look at it from the audience point of view. Unless you are there is no reason for you to be on stage. For 98% of performers the audience doesn't care how good your sleights are until they care about you.

We live in an age of CGI where ANYTHING is possible on the movie, television and computer screen. Magic must capture the attention of the audience, engage them on some level, emotionally or mentally. We as magicians have an advantage television, movies and computers don't! We are there live with the audience, we have to build on that, take advantage of it. Not ignore the possibilities and just do a bunch of tricks strung together with no heart or logic.

Think about the best and your favorite magicians, why are they your favorite? Chances are it's personality and the effects they choose to allow that personality to come through. Great magicians consider that when structuring their show, when choosing material to present.

That's why everything Illusions by Vick does on stage has a story wrapped around it, even if it's just a homage to those who went before. I want the audience to be amazed, to laugh and have a great time but I also want them to think and feel, to be engaged emotionality and intellectually. I've said it many times but Edward Norton as Eisenhiem in the movie "The Illusionist" had more emotion in just one arm gesture than many magicians do in their entire show

For magic to be taken seriously as a performance art magicians MUST get better at performance skills and realize it ALWAYS is about the audience and the experience they share and create and NEVER about the magician. If you are a magician and not doing this.............. you're letting your audience down, all the magicians who went before and will come after and worst of all your are letting yourself down