If the audience likes you, they will enjoy watching your show. So if a few audience members show signs of boredom, you need to engage them more aggressively or risk losing their attention completely.
According to Answers.com, boredom is “A condition characterized by wandering attention, impaired efficiency, and low levels of arousal.”
For us Filipino magicians, boredom is simply the opposite of the main goal of our performances, namely, to entertainment.
The signs of audience boredom are easy to spot. Pinoy magicians need not study NLP to discern them. All they need to do is to develop a sensitivity to the feelings of his audience.
Curiously, some magicians lack this sensitivity. Full of themselves, they often gloss over signs of audience boredom. After a show that didn’t earn laughter or applause, they try to explain away the non-responsiveness of the audience. “The act was so amazing it stunned the audience into silence,” they claim.
To Filipino magicians who take “stunned silence” as a sign of audience boredom, here are a few more signs of the performer’s inability to be engaging. There are many more, I’m sure, if we Filipino magicians will raise our antennas every time we perform.
The entire audience doesn’t have to exhibit all these signs together. Two or three members showing these signs should be enough to warn the performer that he is losing his audience.
1. Silence– Sepulchral absence of response. No clapping and no laughter to reward even your strongest routines are sure signs of a creeping boredom.
2. Yawning – Even a good book or a fast-paced action film can induce sleepiness, so why not a magic show? If three or four people in the audience start yawning, they may be telling you deliberately that they are bored with the show.
3. Heckling– An audience member who starts out with playful bantering, then progresses to repartees and ultimately heckles the performer may be just trying to entertain himself. Worse, he may want to take over the program, thinking he can do a better job of entertaining the audience.
4. Glassy Eyes – Those spaced-out eyes are watching you, but you can tell their owner’s mind is somewhere else.
5. Granite Face – If even your most hilarious joke can’t raise a smile from his stony lips, then you may be in trouble.
6. Calling someone on the cell phone – Conducting a conversation (or pretending to have one) over the cellular phone demonstrates a person’s lack of interest in the program.
7. Talking– People who don’t find stimulation from a magic show will try to find it from conversations with friends.
8. Whispering with someone nearby – A Romeo and Juliet in the audience whispering sweet nothings to each other not only can distract the performer but also can tell volumes of their being bored at what you are doing.
9. Sleeping – The ultimate sign of boredom. An audience members who sleeps is actually stating the obvious, “I’m outta here!”