We Perform for “The Reaction”:
By Brad Christian
In magic, the joy of discovery, the anguish of practice, the satisfaction of mastery and the thrill of performance are all undertaken for a single moment. It staggers the mind to think of all the hours of practice that go into a brief, flashing moment in time, where you show your spectator something completely inexplicable, something that tweaks their belief systems and gets them thinking there is much more to be discovered. That moment is “the reaction.” And, BOY, do magicians crave it. Most of the magicians I know do it all for that one purpose. You know the reaction: It’s what you saw on the faces of the spectators in David Blaine’s specials. It’s what you see in trailers for new magic products. It’s what you see when you perform and blow someone’s mind. It’s almost intoxicating, the rush a magician gets from that. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing you brought genuine amazement into a person’s life.
The reaction is the holy grail of most magicians. Whether they play for a crowd of thousands in a theater or do card tricks in the local coffee shop, they crave that reaction. Whether they get paid thousands for a single performance, they work for tips or even if they don’t make a dime, magicians want their spectators to see something different. Most who enjoy magic enjoy being dumbfounded. Perhaps you’ve heard of the legendary Magic Castle, the historic establishment where some of the world’s finest close-up magicians stun spectators regularly. The high-end clientele is not filled with rubes and dummies. These are smart, savvy people who simply enjoy seeing the impossible. They may know exactly how a certain trick is done, but they appreciate the performance put behind that moment of amazement. Most of you know about the reason I started Ellusionist.com. It was after I met my nephew for the first time when he was four. After doing some tricks for him, he was completely awed — he thought it was the coolest thing in the world. But, here’s the thing: There isn’t much difference between kids and adults when it comes to amazement.
The only difference is the amount of work you have to do to overcome the life experiences of adults. But once you get past that, you have a genuine way of making a grown adult feel exactly like a kid again, back when the world was filled with possibility, mystery, and imagination.That’s why it’s dangerous to think of sleight of hand as a way of “fooling” your audience. Sure, a magic trick is arguably the very definition of fooling someone. But if a secret move or two and some misdirection lead someone to experience a single second of beautiful bewilderment, isn’t that what matters? Isn’t that a great gift you can give a fellow human being? The world is filled with stressful realities right now. Politicians are yelling at each other, the economy is causing problems for people who are losing their jobs or not making ends meet and some areas of the world are locked in violent struggles where it’s unsafe to walk down the street in broad daylight. A truly magic moment takes all the bad stuff away and shines a ray of hope and life in their eyes. Which leads back to you: Why are you learning magic? Why do you practice a double lift for hours upon end? What do you want your spectators to feel when you perform? Hopefully, you feel the need to give those wonderful reactions to people.
Brad Christian’s Magic Video DVDs on Ellusionist.com
Brad Christian’s Bio and Magic Articles on Blifaloo.com