I performed my second bizarre magic show this weekend. Once again, it was a great evening, and once again I learned from the experience and have made adjustments to improve the next show. It was very well attended, much more than I expected. Indeed, the function room was almost full. My heartfelt thanks to all who came to support the evening.
But … Why am I doing this? I know that there are people wondering why, after all these years, I have started performing magic?
It’s actually an interest I have had for a long time. I have always been fascinated with myth and magic and have a library full of books on these subjects. I have been buying props and routines for stage magic for approximately eight years, delighting in discovering how the effects work, and learning just how much of the impact of magic is due to the creation of a powerful atmosphere, achieved by drawing the audience in with an evocative story.
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller. I love to craft stories and characters and write novels about them, drawing readers into the world I have created. But bizarre magic performance offers me a new and more immediate opportunity: the ability to tell stories expressively to an audience and gauge their reaction in real time. It is a very satisfying and immersive kind of storytelling. The kind of supernatural themes that run throughout bizarre magic performance suits my style also: tales of spirits, hauntings, curses and murders.
That’s all very well, so why not just tell stories? Why bother with the magic? This is simply answered. Doesn’t a film benefit from special effects? The ‘trick’ is the punchline to the story, the clincher that makes the audience go wow, or sends a chill down their spine, or simply say, “How the hell did he do that?” Tricks occasionally fail, of course, and for various reasons, not all of them preventable. Sometimes I may become so engrossed in my tale that I forget to set up the trick properly; sometimes an audience volunteer may simply forget the thing they had to remember in order for the result to manifest. Each show so far has had one or two routines that haven’t gone completely to plan. But that’s okay, so long as the remaining 80 – 90% do work out. And even the ones that don’t have their ‘special effect’ work quite as it should are still appreciated for their most important element: a damn good story. I will, of course, keep aiming for a completely flawless show, but I won’t lose any sleep when things go wrong.
There’s another element to consider too. The ‘trick’ isn’t the real magic of the performance. The true magic is the stimulation of the audience members’ imaginations through the stories told, and the awakening of their sense of wonder. This is real magic: for them to leave thinking the world is a little bit stranger and more wonderful than it was when they came in.