Whether you are a Filipino magician, a magician in Manila, Philippines, or a magician somewhere in other parts of the world, you probably have come in contact with magicians resentful about the young ones copying or imitating them. Copying not only their style, patter, music, or magic, but sometimes their entire routines.
While I understand why senior performers would resent being copied, I also understand why the younger breed of magicians copy the seniors whom they idolize. What I don’t understand is the histrionics of some senior magicians once they learned they have been copied and imitated.
I believe copying is a human being’s most basic way to learn. That’s how a baby learns speech. That’s how a toddler learns to take his first tentative steps. By imitating the way his parents talk and walk.
Imagine a parent telling his child, “Don’t copy the way I talk and walk”, and then proceeds to slap him around. We will have nation of stutterers and cripples.
That’s probably what is happening in Philippine magic. We have half-baked magicians who can’t express themselves by speech or by way of art, because some of those who are in the position to help would rather “slap them around” than guide them toward artistic growth.
In my opinion, the senior magicians should be the ones to take the responsibility of promoting creativity among the younger breed. If we can’t stand copying and “unoriginality”, then let’s not wait for the young magicians to ripen in the branch. Let’s do something to hasten the ripening by guidance and supervision.
I know some local magicians who have taken upon themselves the self-imposed mission of giving young magicians artistic nurturing. Rannie Raymundo, of course, is on top of the list of these “nurturers” and mentors. Methinks he is the country’s leading patron saint of young magicians. From what I know, he has several groups of young magicians under his tutelage. They receive guidance and inspiration from him. As the newly installed President of The Magicians Foundation, Inc. (MAGFI), he is now better positioned to fulfil the self-imposed mission to be the mentor of young magicians.
From the more seasoned group of performers, many would point to Tamplin as the person who not only provided them their first props but also who generously guided them throughout the years towards artistic growth.
Let me sum up my point. For the younger generation to grow correctly as artists, they need guidance from the senior performers. The senior magicians should take the responsibility of shaping the state of magic in the Philippines according to their visions and not to leave the fate of local magic in the hands of the inexperienced neophytes.
Let’s not shift the blame to the young ones, for what do they know about these things? Five years from now, if they still insist on copying, that’s the time they should get a good spanking from the old wizards.
So after saying all these things in a long, roundabout way, let me just paraphrase my opinion in ONE, ABSOLUTELY ONE sentence only:
In my opinion, the new breed of Filipino magicians are no different from the new breed of American, Japanese, Thai, Chinese or any-nationality-magicians. They need nurturing and guidance and wisdom from the more senior magicians.
Those are two sentences. I lied.