Starting Out in Magic

Starting Out in Magic

The first thing the budding magician needs to decide is; where does the magic come from? A child, on seeing your show, should be able to say how the magic happened. “He just waved his wand, and the ball disappeared.” Or, “We just said Abracadabra, and all of a sudden, it was there!”

You don’t want her to say, “Well, sometimes he waved his wand, and other times we said Abracadabra. But there were times when there was none of that, and the magic still worked. So, I don’t know how it happened.”

There has to be a reason why the magic took place, and everyone must understand that was why it happened. He waved his wand. He said the magic word. Or, he was magic. But you must always be consistent.

If the magic comes from your wand then you need to use the wand every time the magic takes place. Why would you need a wand on one occasion and not on another? Unless there is a reason, and a good one that is obvious to your audience and doesn’t have to be stated, then use the wand.

This has its good points and its bad. If you are a children’s magician it will give you many excuses to use any of a wide range of wands – the Breakaway Wand, which falls to pieces in the kid’s hand; or a wand whose ends fall off; Multiplying Wands, and many more. All of which gets laughs, even when the kids have seen them all many times before. Don’t ask me why it’s always funny to kids; just be thankful that it is.

On the other hand, no not that one; the clean one, having to use the wand every time can be a nuisance, especially if you use sleight of hand, when you may be concealing an object that your audience knows nothing of, and picking up the wand and waving it might be awkward. There are a lot of points in favour of using a wand – it makes it obvious when the magic happens; you can use the Vernon Wand Spin or David Williamson’s Strike Vanish and create some great magic. You can use all the funny wands on the market, and to some magicians, the laughs are more important than the magic.

Personally, I prefer the freedom of not using a wand. I like to use sleight of hand, and the wand gets in my way. But most Children’s Entertainers

wouldn’t be without their wand.

Another source of the magic could be a magic word or spell. Mainly the province of the Children’s Entertainer

much fun can be had with the choice of a magic word. Sausages, for some reason, is always funny. David Ginn gives lists of possible words in his books. But I don’t like them. How can a word like sausages be magic? Every time you go into the butcher’s and ask for some sausages, magic doesn’t suddenly erupt. The sausages don’t levitate, and dance on their own. The mince doesn’t vanish and re-appear on the ceiling, and the butcher doesn’t cut his assistant in two with the bacon slicer and then put her back together again. Which might make a good act. All rights reserved.

If you are going to use a magic word, I prefer Abracadabra, which has been a word with magic properties for centuries. People at one time used to carry the word on parchment enclosed in a locket. And, as far as I am aware, none of them ever came to any harm. You could combine the two, and wave your wand while saying Abracadabra. With twice as many drawbacks, or advantages.

How about a magic elixir? Perhaps you could play the part of the owner of a Medicine Show, taking a swig from some antique-looking bottle every time something amazing is to happen. You could pretend to be offering the amazing properties of the liquid for sale after your show. The bottle could be empty; full of water; or even gin. Of course, if you use water and are as old as I am, you won’t want your show to last too long. unless you have plenty of toilet breaks built in to your act!

What other possibilities are there? Are you magic? If you are, the magic comes from you, and you have no need of a magic wand or magic words. The magic just happens because you are there. You can, if you like, be amazed that the magic is happening. You don’t know why it is taking place, it just is. Or, perhaps, the magic occurs every time you snap your fingers; twitch your eyebrows; or wiggle your thumbs.

Remember, you are magic, not your volunteers. When they come into the venue they aren’t magic, so when you invite them up to assist you, they still aren’t magic. How do they suddenly perform an act to amaze the rest of the audience? You have to give them a magic wand and/or ask them to say Abracadabra. The same applies to any puppet you may use. It isn’t magic. It has to have a wand. Get your audience to say the magic word when he waves it, and involve them, too.

One thing you mustn’t do is tell your audience how the magic is done. If you always use the wand, they’ll work it out for themselves. If you are magic and the wand is only used by a volunteer, they will, if only subconsciously, realise this. It isn’t even necessary for them to do that; but you have to know where your magic comes from. It helps create a consistent persona for you, and makes you believable.

If people believe you are a magician, if only for the course of your show, then you’ve made a good start to your career.

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