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Dictionary.com defines patter as follows:
- meaningless, rapid talk; mere chatter; gabble.
- the usually glib and rapid speech or talk used by a magician while performing, a barker at a circus or sideshow, a comedian or other entertainer, a vendor of questionable wares, or the like; stylized or rehearsed talk used to attract attention, entertain, etc.
- amusing lines delivered rapidly by an entertainer or performer, as in a comic routine or in a song.
Notice the common denominator of all three definitions? A patter is “rapid talk”. It is “rapid speech”. Or it is lines delivered “rapidly” by an entertainer.
Well, that is the traditional way people understand the word patter.
Today modern magicians do not necessarily talk rapidly. Still the lines they deliver during a performance is called patter in magic lingo.
Adding patter to your routine is not difficult. Adding patter that sparkles and entertains is.
I’ve know magicians who squandered their productive time learning sleights and complicated routines. When time comes for them to face an audience, their act bombs even though they have executed beautifully all the right moves.
Oh, their sleights are beautiful to behold, their movements elegant, their skills incredible. But their performance flops because they mess up their lines.
What a pity, because composing and delivering scintillating lines are far easier than learning and perfecting sleights-of-hand.
Messed-up lines can be avoided. All one needs to do is admit a great truth that, like everything in our performances, one has to plan—that is, plan the words to say.
Next time, I’ll write about “The 5 Ways to Make Your Patter Suck”.
Meantime, let me invite you to watch “Magic ‘To (The Next Level) on September 8, 2007 at the Philamlife Theater.
Please come early. The show will start before the show starts at 8 PM. This is a concept we stumbled upon in the first Magic ‘To. It made our patrons happy, and I’m sure you will be too.
Though the main program will start at 8 PM, at 7 PM early birds will already get a treat from our lobby activities. At 7:30 PM the “Prelude” will start inside the theater.
I’d rather not tell you what we have in store for you in the lobby activities and the “Prelude”. Let me give you the details in the coming days ahead to keep you interested.