My magician friends have been chiding me about my continued use of animals in my show. They said they have dropped animal magic in their programs a long time ago. Their reason? They thought bringing animals from one gig to another is not worth the trouble.
After all these years of ribbing, I still persist in my old ways of performing livestock magic. I scurry around the city (and even to the provinces), carrying five doves, a duck and a rabbit from one event to another. The animals help me entertain and amaze my type of audience.
I must be stubborn or out of my mind. Bringing animals from one venue to another is a hassle. Some restaurants and hotels bar entry of animals into their places. Occasionally, I have to ask the client to intercede for me with the hotel administration, claiming I don’t have a show if the animals are not allowed in. Always, the venue management will relax their rules when the client insists my animals are part of the my show and should be allowed to enter the premises.
Bringing animals to provincial shows when I have to take an airplane causes even a bigger headache. I have to check-in at the airport earlier than most passengers, because I have to go to the quarantine office to get a health clearance for my animals.
Once I check-in the animals, the airline people will handle them as cargo, not luggage. That means when I arrive at my airport of destination, I don’t claim the animals’ carrying case from the baggage carousel, but from the cargo office, which is usually several buildings away from the arrival area. (In Cebu City, the cargo office is several blocks away. I have to take a taxi to claim the animals.)
Add to that the necessity of feeding the animals and giving them fresh water during the entire trip, and you can imagine how much bother I have to put up just to bring them with me in my out-of-town shows.
Still, despite these inconveniences, I bring animals and include them in my program. Part of the reason is that I have a funny, amazing and entertaining act (it runs for about a third of my show) using those animals. It’s so entertaining (so my clients claim) that many parents hire me because of this act and insist that I do it at their parties. How can I say no to such requests?
Another reason is that, since I’m performing mostly for children and adults together, the act with the animals always get a good response, especially from children. Animals always fascinate children. They appeal to their sense of wonder. And since magic has been so identified with animal production, children expect some livestock in a magic show. In fact, I suspect, many children consider a magic show incomplete if the rabbit does not appear.
If you are as stubborn and hard-headed as I am, and if you want to hear children shriek with delight, consider including animals in your show.
Be prepared for the hassle, but anticipate a more enthusiastic audience reaction.