Guest Author - Dennis Regling
Do you perform magic, or do you present tricks? Is your show filled with engaging routines, or are you just showing off your toys?
Last summer, at a county fair, I saw a clown perform on the small stage. Her magic was well done, but basically her show was show and tell. Pick up an object, show what it does, ad infinitum. Boring.
I talked with her afterwards, explaining how she could take her show to the next level. She had a couple food related tricks, so I suggested she create a cooking theme. The Clown Kitchen, if you will.
She started thinking about the props she had, cake in dove pan, peanut butter & jelly, etc. In a matter of 15 minutes, she had a show outlined in her head. Her next step was to go home and create patter that would link the tricks to each other and create a show, rather than a series of effects.
What about your show? How can you spice up your presentations?
Let's pick a trick. Say the silk cabinet and the 20th century silks. The silk cabinet can be used to disappear a silk, and the 20th century silks will make it reappear, tied between two others.
Now, we need a motive, a reason for the trick. A story, perhaps. Let's say a bank robber being pursued by Johnny Law.
The odd color silk can represent the bad guy. The two like colored silks, the fuzz. Let's say a red and two blue silks.
Now, we need volunteers. Audience participation always adds to an effect, creates more interest and also stretches out the performance time.
Let's get 3 folks on stage. On the first we will put a bandana (NOT a banana) around their neck, and a cowboy hat. On the two police, we will pin stars, or maybe give them cards to hold with a picture of a badge.
As we tell the story, the participants will respond. Every time you say, "THE BANKROBBER," The bank robber will say, "I'm reallY bad." Every time you say, "THE CHIEF OF POLICE," the one volunteer will say, "I always get my man." When you say, "THE ROOKIE," the rookie cop will respond with, "I wanna go home."
So now we tell the story of this slippery desparado, and the police who chase him. He hides in his hideout, the silk cabinet. When the cops show up, the hideout is empty. The badguy got away again. Or did he?
Continue the story, and the finale is when the blue silks are pulled apart, the badguy is tied between them. Justice prevails again.
Of course, you can be as elaborate as you want with this. Use the ropes through body to show an escape, do the misers dream as the badguy counts his loot, etc.
But adding the story and the volunteers with their silly lines will take what could have been a boring sequence of tricks, (the scarf disappears, the scarf reappears) into a memorable tale.
How else can you incorporate a storyline into your magic?
Stop doing show and tell and go for the performance of magical theater.
Email me with your questions and ideas.