I’m sure you have heard of the customary admonition “Don’t try this at home.” It is usually intoned over the microphone every time a dangerous act is about to be performed onstage.

I don’t know if they issue this warning to achieve a theatrical suspense, just like the way a drum-roll does before an archer targets an apple on a beautiful lady’s head.

If the purpose of the admonition is to build suspense, I’m sure it often does its job well. Even the most jaded audience will sit up and pay attention when someone over the PA system warns the audience not to try at home the act they are about to see.

However, as an honest-to-goodness advice, “Don’t try this at home” is meaningless. Children will try at home (or at school, or anywhere they find convenient) something you warn them against not to try. Have you heard of reverse psychology? Well, children are tops when it comes to doing something opposite to what you say they shouldn’t do. So don’t try invoking “Don’t try this at home” to children or they will try to do it.

Now, if the piece of advice is meant for magicians, the more meaningless it becomes. It could rank as the worst piece of advice. Magicians should, of course, first try their acts at home before they contemplate inflicting it on a paying public. In fact, they must try it at home not once or twice but dozens of times, until they have perfected the act.

So use “Don’t try this at home” as a scare tactic to keep your audience on the edge of their seats. But disregard the warning if you want to improve your act.

Stay magical,



Watch 9 champion magicians compete in the grand finals of Inner Magic Club’s magic contest.

Plus an evening of magic, comedy and illusion performed by the country’s top magic entertainers.

At 7:30 PM, November 14, 2008, Philamlife Theater, UN Avenue, Manila


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