In magic communities, both here in the Philippines and throughout the world, contradicting idealisms abound.
Filipino magicians are as predisposed to make grand statements as magicians of other nationalities. Not much wrong with that, if they can back up their claims with suitable corresponding actions.
I can find many examples of this phenomenon. Allow me to start with the intriguing similarities of magic acts. Intriguing because magicians, even those who mouth platitudes of their being original thinkers, often perform the same magic tricks that many other magicians are doing.
The problem (if it can be called that) even afflicts magic dealers. I remember many years ago, Hank Lee’s enticed buyers with an enchanting ad copy. It said, “With thousands of tricks in our inventory, you don’t have to perform the same magic other magicians are performing,” or words to that effect.
Yet, when you browse their catalog, except for a few dozen specialty tricks and exclusive props, they sell exactly the same items found in the inventory of their competitors.
The similar-trick contagion spreads across all levels of proficiency among magic performers. I cannot speak of the situation in other countries. Here in the Philippines, specially in the Metro Manila area where the market for magic entertainment is small, the similarities of tricks in magic acts are so pronounced they are obvious even to my near-sighted mother-in-law watching magicians a half block away.
For this matter, I can’t help suspecting that beginning, intermediate and even professional Pinoy magicians have developed an inclination to perform the same magic tricks. The reason? They think being similar is the right path to the freezer (they want to appear cool). Indeed many of them end their careers inside the freezer, where they are seldom heard of again after their frosty performances.
Here are the tricks that Filipino magicians should weed out from their acts if they want to attain distinction and uniqueness.
- Appearing Cane
- Disappearing Cane
- Appearing Candle
- Disappearing Candle
- Appearing Doves (a la Lance Burton)
- Disappearing Doves (a la Jason Byrne)
- Needle Thru Balloon
- Talking Mask
- Floating Table
- Snowstorm in China
- Throw Streamers
- Balloon Swallowing
- Linking Rings
- Zombie Ball
The list is by no means complete. But the tricks that made it there should be in sufficient number to prove my point. That is, if I have a point to start with.
After saying all this, I must confess I am one of the magicians guilty of the sins I enumerated above.
However, my guilt doesn’t prevent me from contemplating this enigma. If there are thousands of tricks out there, why do magicians perform the same few tricks?
If you have the answer, please enlighten me.
Or is the answer a secret?
In future articles, I will try to break the DNA code of magical clones.