If you are a Filipino magician like me who had been in the magic scene for some time, sooner or later you will meet young Pinoy performers who would pick your brain. One of the usual questions is how to close the show.
My answer varies. I have the unfortunate love for all types of magical performances. I’m not a specialist. Rather, I’m into-everythingist.
My shows run the gamut of close-up, stand-up, stage, mentalism shows. Each one requires a dedicated strategy for opening and closing, not to mention for putting the middle.
In mentalism shows, I always close with Ultimate Flashback. It involves several persons in the audience and affords me the opportunities to show my personality (as if I had one). It also has several devastatingly strong effects. Adults usually say they get the “creeps” watching the performance.
At birthday parties, whether in Metro Manila or provinces, I end my shows in two ways: one, I may end with a noisy, shouting, disappearing rabbit routine that even gets the adults going with their children. Or, two, I may close with an illusion.
For adult shows, an illusion is always a good closer. Pinoy audiences seem to love spectacular endings.
However, there was one time, at a doctors’ convention, where I performed a 30 minute magic, that I experimented with my closing act. I did the Gene Anderson Torn-and-Restored newspaper. I did it right after the illusion that I usually closed my shows with.
I called my experimental closing gambit as “soft close”, because it is not as spectacular as the performance before it. I did the “soft close” to beautiful sweet music, elegant patter (about us having a little child inside who believes in magic), and a humorous line or two.
I thought it was an artistic and theatrical thing to do. Definitely not for birthday parties, but for adults and intelligent audience, the soft close can be an emotional closer that ties the performance in beautiful ribbon and presented like a nice gift to bring home.
I thought I was the one who discovered/invented/stumbled on “soft close”, until a couple of years later I saw a video of Lance Burton’s Las Vegas act where he did a version of the “soft close” or something similar to it.
After a spectacular illusion, Lance Burton performed Niel Foster’s Center Tear and produced a single dove from the newspaper. He did it to soft music, elegant patter and humorous lines. Not the same music, patter, or joke, but the template is the same.
I was ecstatic. He proved my long-held theory that my ideas are good enough for Las Vegas.
Well, they have been good enough for the Philippines for years now…If only those talent scouts are not so shortsighted.