This is the last in the series of articles I’m writing on this subject.
Script Writing – In Philippine magic scene, I may be one of the most ardent advocates of writing a script for my act. I find a script helpful in coming up with a creative presentation and suggesting sparkling patter.
I have many skills in life, but eloquence is not one of them. I find it difficult to think on my feet and exchange repartees with the audience.
I’m far from being spontaneous. I cover my deficiency by planning ahead. I make it a point to know well in advance what I intend to say when performing.
Most of the adlibs I drop are planned. Sometimes I get brilliant and utter by accident a funny line on a live performance. But such instances are few and far between.
If you are inarticulate like me, then write a script of your routine, act, the whole show. If you take the time to put your show on paper and then perform it according to your script, you will make your show look more professional. It will be more sure-footed, as against a performance that meanders down a winding path.
With the availability of affordable PCs and laptops, writing a script for your show is now much easier and enjoyable to do.
Acting - The acting ability required from a magician, whether he is from the Philippines or somewhere else, is not comparable to the one required from Robert Deniro. Trust me, all you need is a minimum range of facial expressions (surprise, confused, amazed), emotions (happy, sad), and you can improve your performance and make it better than many performers who don’t care about their acting.
I have seen some magicians feigning surprise but looks like he is suffering from constipation. I have seen other performers who act amazed and also look like they are having constipation. Surprise looks differently from amazement, but if your facial expression looks the same (namely, that of a person with upset stomach), then you need to learn some acting basics to shade your performing character.
Speech-A magician needs to communicate with his audience. The communication may be in silence or verbal. Many magicians in the Philippines prefer to perform “silently” (that is, in pantomime, with their act punctuated with a good selection of music). Just because they don’t talk doesn’t mean they are not communicating. They are. They communicate by their actions, movements, gestures, and facial expressions.
For those who prefer to talk while performing (like I do), basic skills in voice projection, enunciation and pronunciation can serve the performer in good stead.
A performer aspiring to be great needs all these “basic notes” or “alphabet” in building his magic routines and performing them. While one may not go to the great lengths of becoming outstanding in these peripheral skills, acquiring a working knowledge in them will help lift him out of mediocrity.