“How does she do it?” If you love the thrill of creating amazement in incredulous onlookers, consider putting together your very own magic show! With the wide variety of commercial magic kits, props, and instructional materials available today, this can be a lot easier than it sounds.
There are many types of magical illusions to choose from: penetration (where a solid object seemingly passes through another solid object), levitation, vanishing acts, escape tricks, and the transformation of one object into another. Often tricks combine more than one of these elements, such as making an object vanish and re-appear as something else.
In planning your magic show, firsts determine what type of magician you would like to be. Would you be comfortable performing in front of large audiences on stage, or would you prefer the more intimate setting of after-dinner parlor magic for a few friends? For whom would you like to perform, a group of wily kids who will be delighted with simple coin tricks, or adults (who tend to be more skeptical)? Do you like to perform alone, or would you like a full show with assistants, accomplices and plenty of accessories on stage? Your personality determines what type of magician you are, and the type of magician you are determines which magic tricks are most suited to your show.
For the more theatrical, stage magic is the most appealing choice. Stage magicians have a host of illusions to choose from and perform in front of large audiences. Escape tricks a la Harry Houdini are impressive and suited to these big shows. For a start, you can learn and apply basic escape techniques with rope magic.
If your style is more low-key, then your magic trick selection should involve more close-up, sleight-of-hand with small objects. These kinds of tricks are suited to intimate settings such as dinner and cocktail parties. You don’t have to be a Vegas blackjack dealer to learn how to do basic, yet impressive card tricks. Lots of tricks involve a “spectator card,” a.k.a. a card picked out by a member of the audience and magically located by you later on. Lots of these tricks involve counting cards, but the latest in magic card decks are specifically designed to make card tricks easy.
In between the two extremes of stage magic and close-up magic is the realm of party magic. Party magic, often performed for children, involves plenty of participation from the audience (and possibly accomplices). Some of the most amusing magic tricks, especially for children, involve making coins appear and disappear right before their eyes. Coin tricks rely on sleight-of-hand techniques that you can easily learn with a bit of practice. What you do most, you do best, and this particularly applies to sleight-of-hand magic like coin tricks and ball-and-cup tricks, so practice, practice, practice! There is no substitute for experience when it comes to pulling off magic tricks with ease and flair.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the same goes for being prepared for when a magic trick goes wrong. Have a simple, well-rehearsed trick in your arsenal that you can call upon when all else fails. Make sure you’ve practiced this trick so many times you could do it blindfolded – that way even if you’re feeling really nervous and thrown off by your previous trick-gone wrong, you can quickly transition into a trick that puts you where you ought to be: back in control of your own show.
When you come up against skeptics who want to take the wind out of your sails, remember the words of magician Joseph Dunninger: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice.” Not everyone will be into magic, so focus your efforts on those who truly enjoy what you have to offer. You may find the performance of magic to be more rewarding than you imagined.