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I’ve dreamed of becoming a saint for many years now. But my bad habits, ill-thoughts and sinful lifestyle have prevented me from being raised into sainthood.
So instead, today, I’ll just pretend to be sinless. I will stand in my backyard and deliver a Sermon on a Mound. It’s not much of a sermon and it’s not much of a mound, but they’ll do for my purpose today.
Now, don’t tell me who are the guilty magicians. I won’t name names. This article is not about pointing the finger of blame to any person. Rather, this is about airing my displeasure with an anomaly in a magician’s life.
If you think I’m talking about you, you may be right. If you think you are innocent, uhmm…okay, you are innocent. Whatever you think of yourself, remember I’m a saint today. I’m blameless and as pure as a lily.
Magic is an art. Haven’t you heard this being mouthed much too often by many magicians, mostly in a pretentious way?
Well, I have. Just a few days ago, I wrote about it. I’ve written about it so many times before I lost count the number of times.
Now, here’s my beef. Not too long ago, an event organizer wanted me to perform the Substitution Trunk. No big deal, huh?
It was a big deal to me. She wanted me to perform it for 10 seconds. You heard it right: 10 freaking seconds.
The performance will be included in a production number—you know, a bevy of dancing-girls, writhing, twisting, squirming and, I suppose, giving the audience a glimpse of their underwear onstage while an ear-splitting music plays. Toward the end of the dance number, I was to perform the Substitution Trunk. I have to do it in 10 seconds, lest the music would have stopped already and I would overrun it.
Now, I think the Substitution Trunk is a beautiful, amazing and awesome illusion. But it has to be performed correctly. Meaning the magician will have to build up the presentation to elicit suspense and to work a vigorous response. To achieve that result, he has to perform the illusion for more than 10 seconds.
I don’t know if the Substitution Trunk can be done in 10 seconds—technically. Well, maybe it can by removing all the convincers such as tying up the performer, putting him inside a sack, tying up the sack, placing him inside the trunk, locking up the trunk and then tying up the trunk for good measure. All this will take more than 10 seconds. (I don’t have the actual timing, but I’m a psychic, so I know putting the magician inside the trunk will take more than 10 seconds.)
Now, reverse the process at the end of the performance—untying the trunk, unlocking it, untying the sack to show the assistant, and releasing the assistant from her bondage. All this, again, will take more than 10 seconds.
Now, thinking about it, I’d grudgingly admit that theoretically the Substitution Trunk effect can be done in 10 seconds or under. Hans Klok did it on TV in his multiple-illusion exhibition. That’s right. You heard me correctly. It was an exhibition, not magic.
And that was what the organizer wanted me to do.
Well, I’m not an exhibitionist. At the same time, I’m not also completely sold to the “magic is an art” assertion mouthed by some puffed-up magicians.
Still, I think it’s wrong to perform the Substitution Trunk in 10 seconds—eliminating all the trimmings of presentation to avert time overrun—and reduce it to an exhibition piece. Or to a special effect.
So let me ask the “magic is an art” proponents: where’s the art in such performance?
I couldn’t find it. There was money in it (the organizer was willing to pay generously), but where’s the art?
Well, I turned down the gig.
Someone else took it, though, probably for the money.
So much for “magic is an art”.
Don’t mouth those words again in my presence. I’m a saint. My presence is holy. If you tell me “magic is an art” again, I’ll turn you into a bunny.
- What David Copperfield can teach about sales (theglobeandmail.com)
- Houdini Trunk Will Keep Its Secrets (online.wsj.com)
- Magicians in the Philippines as Artists (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)