ASKED SOMETHING TO A SPECTATOR AND HIS/HER ANSWER ACTUALLY MEANT SOMETHING TO YOU? Like he/she could actually change the magician’s plans at all, like he/she could actually affect the outcome of what was about to happen. Like he/she could actually add something to the experience which was taking place…
What is your name?… What was out name again please?… and your name was?.. Could you say stop at any point?… Please select any member of the audience… Should we use the red or the blue back deck? … Do you prefer the red ones or the black ones?… Could you name any card of the deck?… Name any number between 1 and 52, yes yes! any number! Really I couldn’t care less the number you name!…
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot on how many things we (I) ask to spectators and how meaningless are their responses for us (me), how we (I) don’t care at all. It seems that the most solid reason we have to ask something to the spectators is to give them the illusion that they are actually affecting something when we know they don’t, not because we really want to know what they have to say (poor isn’t it?). For most of the magic that I know it is essentially the same if the spectator in front is a cultivated person, or the most interesting human being or a stupid guy… some spectators may react better that others but the expected outcome is always the same. I think in general that we take nothing from our spectators back home, among other reasons because we leave no room for them to put it. I think we are missing a lot there.
There are some exceptions, for instance if you see a good magic show for kids you will realize the kids make the show, the kids are the actual show. Good kids’ magicians let the kids play an active role, take part, and they truly affect the outcome and everyone’s experience… A particular kid’s participation on a show may last decades in the memory of the audience (and the magician’s).
I remember very well a show from David Williamson that I witnessed in Uppsala one or two years ago (David is one of the more entertaining performers, one the finest technicians, one the more knowledged magicians, nicest guys, humblest wises… funnier comedians … … best bests … … Goddest Gods … …). He performed this mentalism routine where five spectators each draw something in five slates and the magician have to guess who drew what. It was very very entertaining, he took a lot of out of every spectator (he is one of the best kids’ magicians I know too…). But I won’t forget in my whole life when we all realized that one of the spectators, a cute Swedish girl (the only girl) was the one who drew a hairy cook in the slate to try to mislead the magician. It was soooooooo funny! She was pretending all along!! when she was discovered she smiled with the evilest smile. That girl changed the outcome of the routine, she changed our experience. (The routine had room and David put things easy on her to do that)
(As a matter of fact I remember perfectly the four shows and the lecture David performed at Uppsala festival…)
So that’s what I am trying to do now, asking things to spectators that I actually care of. How can they care about what I ask them if I don’t even care about what they answer?
Thanks for reading