Magicians in the Philippines, like all performing artists, have their own share of life’s ironies.
A magician has to spend countless hours in practice to learn and master it. The goal is to shift the lower and upper packets of a deck of cards at the same time. He has to do this silently right under the very noses of the spectators. Above all, he has to do it without getting caught or arousing suspicion.
“Silent” and “undetectable”—there lies the irony. A magician has to spend inordinate amount of time to learn and master the Pass—but to what end?
So that people will not see the Invisible Pass when a magician performs it.
A painter may spend long hours of labor to create his masterpiece. But once it is finished, he can step back, display his work to the public and allow people to admire it.
A basketball player may spend thousands of hours honing his game. But once he can shoot the ball from the three-point line, he will do it not only for the fans in the auditorium but also for the millions of viewers on television. He can display his skills for the world to admire.
Not so a magician. The technical expertise of a magician is hidden. The more skillful he is, the more the lay people are unaware of the secret moves he employs to bring about his amazing feats.
His movements remain innocents, his actions above suspicion.
The long practice sessions to learn the Invisible Pass, and the countless hours he needs to master it are dues he must pay—so that the audience will NOT see his skills, let alone suspect them.
Performers lacking the discipline of a true wizard will not be able to understand this irony in a magician’s performing life. Many of them, after having perfected their Invisible Pass, will unthinkingly flash it, so their audience will admire the difficulty of their performance. As if saying, “Hey, look, I can do something difficult that took me months to learn.”
Tell you what, these so-called magicians lack the heart of a magician. They are not really conjurers but jugglers. And I say that not to insult jugglers, but to point out that such wannabe magicians, longing for paeans for their manipulative skills, don’t belong in magic.
If they want people to sing hosannas for their skills, they should shift to an overt activity—like doing cartwheels or ballroom dancing. These entertain people, and they don’t need to hide, mask or disguise their abilities to perform them.
Leave magic to us charmers, conjurers, and enchanters. We have the discipline to hide our techniques. We don’t give in to the temptation to flaunt them.The art is not only safe in our hands, it is also invisible.
That is, if we don’t mess up our trick.
But that’s altogether another topic for another day of sitting in front of my PC.