IMC member Prof. Al is a college professor of Miriam College. He must be a magician in his previous life, for he plays the part whenever opportunity presents itself.
Yesterday, he dropped me an email containing photos that documented his latest gig for the children of Varsity Hills.
Here’s his account of that show:
It all started in July, when I ran into a group of students belonging to the Junior People Management of the Philippines, a student organization geared towards excellent performance of the human resources department.
I was just passing by their hang-out area when they buttonholed me. They said they were looking for me, because they wanted to treat the children of Varsity Hills (the poorer side of town) to a magic show. I asked them when they wanted the show to be, and they said it would be in one month.
Could my services be pro bono? they asked. I said why not?
So one month passed. On the night before the show, I organized my stuff and act as well as I could. First, I wrote down my routines. Then I listed down the materials I would need in the show—from lighter fluid to candies. I made a conscious effort not to forget the background music. The CD was my tool at the moment, as I did not have an iPod yet.
The following day, a student fetched me at my home and delivered me to the performing site (after the show, they also brought me back home). It was a Catholic chapel. When I arrived, the children, who came with their parents, became excited. But I could not start the show right away, because I still have to fix my performing space and set-up my props.
I asked for a 15-minute lead-time, while the children ate their snacks.
Then the show began. I started with a flash-paper display followed by a throw streamer. Then the classical water and newspaper segueing to silk-to-cane. I encountered a problem with the silk-to-cane when I reached for it in my pocket. Not only did I struggle to find it but also it got stuck for two to three seconds on its way out. After a while, though, I was able to free it and snap it open for a visually pleasing magical effect. The audience, which by this time had swelled and packed the house up to the rafters, rewarded me with a thunderous applause. My struggle with the silk-to-cane paid-off, as I spent enormous time practicing the new prop the previous night.
The fast-paced routine slowed down a bit by the time I got to perform the colored silk attached to a rope. After that, I performed the Running Mickey Mouse (a variant of Run Rabbit Run trick-Leodini), which the children enjoyed.
The interaction with the crowd gave me an excellent opportunity to build rapport with my audience and put magic in a favorable light. Still, I think I have to learn more about interacting with the audience.
More magic routines followed. I closed my show with a production of “White Rabbit” candies using a dove pan. I created tension when I asked the children if they wanted me to produce a rabbit. They enthusiastically shouted, “Yes”. I built a fire inside the dove pan, let it burn for a while, then put it out with the pan’s lid. I then announced mysteriously, “Now the rabbit”. Voila! With flair, I opened the lid of the pan to reveal the White Rabbit candies. I scooped them out and threw them to the crowd. Everyone laughed, for indeed we had rabbits, rabbits, rabbits everywhere, and they were all “white” just as I promised.
The students and the people in the community were profuse with their thanks. Magic made their day. I’m sure the children will cherish the memories of their magical experience. These will stay with them long after the other activities of that event have long passed into oblivion.
Thanks, Prof. Al, for sharing your story with us. You just accomplished Inner Magic Club’s self-imposed mission, namely, to spread the love and appreciation of magic.