I watched Chairman Cris Castro perform magic yesterday on the Boy and Kris program over ABS-CBN’s Channel 2.

Kris Aquino co-hosts the program with Boy Abunda. During the magical performances, she keeps reminding Boy Abunda to please “not destroy the magic!” every time Boy goes to great lengths of examining the props so closely that Kris fears accidental exposure.

Nothing of that sort happened on the program, thanks to the alertness of Cris Castro and Kris’s motherly watchfulness over the magic performances.

Off camera, Kris Aquino confessed to Cris Castro that she is a lover of magic. That could explain her enthusiasm over the magic tricks performed in her program and her zealousness to protect the secrets of magic.

Kris Aquino is, indeed, a friend of magic.

Contrast that with other TV hosts, especially comedy hosts and hosts who think they are funny. Most have the penchant for exposing the secrets of magic tricks to get cheap laughs. Most do it as a reflex (humor being ingrained in their system), thinking that exposing a magic trick can raise them a laugh.

In most cases, they do, but to the expense of magic. The magician, having been exposed, becomes an object of ridicule and magic as an art losses respectability in the eyes of millions of TV viewers and the hundreds in the studio.

I don’t fault the TV hosts for situations like that. They are laymen. They don’t really know the proper way to present magic on TV. They are just doing their jobs—that is, to make their audience laugh. If they see an opportunity to elicit laughter from a less watchful magic performer, they are going to take it.

Life is cruel. It is even more cruel inside a TV studio.

For that matter, I think the magician who performs on TV shows, and not the TV hosts, should take the responsibility of ensuring that accidental exposure of magic does not happen during a magic performance.

TV is a cruel medium, especially for magic. Not only the cameras are unforgiving, they can also move around the performer, reposition to his sides and behind him, and even peer underneath the props, where the tricks are most vulnerable.

IMC members, when guesting on TV shows, always take precautions to cover this vulnerability. They confer with the program staff to emphasize the need for magic to get the respect it deserves. They impose a condition of no deliberate exposure of the tricks. Camera shots should be taken to enhance the performance and not to reveal details of the inner-workings of the tricks.

Our members also choose the most suitable tricks to perform inside a TV studio. Suitable tricks can sometimes mean not the most preferable. A studio layout usually forces the magician to perform surrounded, or with people seated at the sides. Only few tricks and illusions can withstand such performing conditions. That may explain why you see the same tricks done by magicians in different TV channels. Those are the tricks most suitable for studio performing conditions.

For example, it’s close to impossible to do the Gamolo Levitation inside a studio in the rounds, so the magician performs instead the Chair Suspension. Card manipulation will not work in the middle of a studio floor, so he does the Invisible Deck instead. And so on.

The trick to performing live for TV is to bomb proof your routine. Pre-show discussion with the cameraman, production assistants, the hosts, talent coordinator, or even the director is a must. TV people will listen to you. They want you to succeed. Your failure will ruin their program, and they won’t like that. But you have to tell them what is needed to be done, because they are laymen. They don’t know much about the art of capturing a magical performance for television.

If you have Kris Aquino in the program as the host, be thankful. She will help you in her own way to protect the magic secrets.

We magicians ought to give Kris Aquino an ovation.



Watch Magic ‘To (The Next Level)

September 8, 2007, at 8 PM,

Philamlife Theater, U.N. Avenue