On the ART VS ENTERTAINMENT debate in magic.


I do believe entertainment it’s at its best when it no only entertains.

I could finish the article right here but will try to elaborate a little bit more. From my experience as receptor, I don’t think there such thing as pure entertainment, that would be something like anesthesia, almost always there is something else besides amusement. The key is the quality of that “something else”.

While I do believe the best entertainment touches also other strings, is it most important HOW those strings are touched, is also very a common experience when as a spectator you read the attempt of manipulating your emotions or a moralizing message surreptitiously encapsulated in the narrative. That’s not good.

My experience as a deliverer was very clarifying, I know for me the ultimate goal it not entertain, it just isn’t’. It happened many times that my perception was the audience was entertained and still I felt terribly bad about what I delivered. I would say that entertaining the audience and me feeling good about my performance are somewhat independent but no, it is also the case when I do “my thing” the way I am happy with entertainment happens.

I don’t consider myself an entertainer, or more precisely, I don’t aim at being one. It doesn’t mean I aim at being at artist or that I consider myself such a thing (which sounds even more presumptuous). What happens is much more down to earth. I have a built-in NEED to create and communicate stuff, I cannot avoid that, I just want to feel good about what I DO about that NEED, it is just that.

Turns out the difficult questions that pops to mind are not fundamental, thinigs like ¿It is this idea appealing enough to the audience? ¿what’s the effect is saying effect? ¿It is strong enough? ¿what’s emotions I want to touch? I am doing so? ¿It is this line funny enough? Neither the “not-so difficult” ones like ¿It is OK to use a stooge? ¿Should I use someone else’s routine? ¿and if it is published somewhere? I don’t say they are meaningless, they are not, but they don’t get to the core of the thing and sometimes you can circle around them forever.

For me the fundamental question is What I would do on stage that I feel good about doing? That one contains implicitly the answer of any other question. It is a very difficult question to answer, also the right answer it is not the same over time, but for me is the important one, it trumps the rest.

Almost invariably for me, and I assume for many others, the answer to the fundamental question has to do with being truthful to myself, caring about the things I respect and working my ass off.

Thanks for reading

Pipo

Las Rozas April 2nd 2019

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