In the Philippines, it used to be that people get to watch magic performance mostly in carnivals and theme parks only. This situation had given Filipino magicians and magic an unflattering notion that their entertainment was suitable only for carnivals.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Inner Magic Club, the elite group of Filipino magicians, over the past many years magic has moved from carnivals to more elegant venues such as clubhouses, luxury hotels, posh restaurants and spanking convention centers.
Still, magic can’t seem to shake off the popular notion, albeit a cliche, that it is entertainment suited only for children.
As a result, magicians work mostly children’s birthday parties. Engaging them at company picnics, seminars, and other corporate events never even occur to some event planners. Magic then gets caught up in the viscous cycle of being performed mostly for children, creating an image of being a juvenile entertainment, and disqualifying it for other markets.
Many Filipino magicians working at children’s parties unwittingly encourage this notion, when they perform kiddie magic and use humor appreciated only by children. A good number of them also choose not to involve adult audience members in their shows, thus creating the perception that their magic entertainment is exclusively for children.
I’m elated this past weeks, however, because I have performed for three all-adult shows. One on the 25th anniversary celebration of a company and the other on the 60th birthday of a British fellow who now resides in the Philippines. (A few weeks before that I also performed for a group of financial experts and bankers in the Philippines.)
I have two more adult shows coming up. I usually book these many number of non-children shows during the Christmas season, but since these shows are already landing on my lap before the onset of the Holidays, I have nothing to complain about even though I’m surprised at this development.
I don’t know if other Filipino magicians experience the same surge in the number of adult shows. If indeed there is an appreciable upsurge industry wide, I will take it as favorable development. It indicates a shifting market preference and augurs well for the magic industry.
(By the way, when I say “adult shows”, I don’t mean shows containing blue or risque materials. I don’t do “Ding Dong”. I always keep my material clean. I’m confident I can make my audiences laugh with clean jokes and entertain them with pristine-white materials. Double entendres and foul language have no place in my shows.)
Anyway the reason I’m mentioning all this is that I find performing for adult audiences easier than performing for children. In general, adults are easier to laugh and more appreciative of the efforts of the entertainer than children.
Of course, there are exceptions. Difficulties arise at shows when adults, who have preconceived notions of magic being suited only for children, will shut the performer out from the very outset and not give him the chance to shine. This is the type of people that you lose even before you start your opening number. You have to work a bit harder to get their attention and win them over to your side.
The other type of difficult audience is the drunk audience. I have no sure-fire technique on how to handle them. Because alcohol has addled their brains, they cannot be enthralled, their attention cannot not be engaged, their logic cannot be reasoned with, their focus cannot be controlled. There’s no other way to perform for them except to get off the stage as soon as humanly possible.
Overall, though, in the right venues, performing for adult audiences is both artistically fulfilling and financially rewarding.
May this type of magic shows flood the industry…