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Not long ago, somebody tagged me on Facebook to show a photo of him performing magic.

The photograph was of a young, enthusiastic magician regaling an audience with a street performance of multiple umbrella production.

I could tell by the way he wrote about his experience that he was sublimely proud of his feat. A few young magicians, his friends obviously, gushed online over his performance.

And then a party popper—another young magician, this time the sensible variety—chimed in. I forgot the exact words he used, but in essence he asked the Facebook magician why he is performing umbrella production in the midst of the audience.

PhotobucketFor that’s what the Facebook magician did. He produced umbrellas from body loads while people were watching from his sides and behind him.  Unless he was a real magician, it was impossible for the people standing behind him, and some of those to his left and right sides, not to see where the umbrellas were coming from.

Now this post is not meant to denounce or berate that magician. He is young, and his enthusiasm must have so gotten over him it rendered his logic dysfunctional.

I, too, had been young once, enthusiastic and encumbered with a dysfunctional logic. Those are my qualifications. Or should I say “disqualifications”.  So you had better listen to me. I may have something to say that would improve your magic.

PhotobucketEnthusiasm is not a license to be stupid. I know stupidity is common not only in magic but also in love affairs—when one experiences animal attraction to the opposite sex.  At times like this, young people with boiling-hot hormones often think with their sex organs and not with their brains.  They do stupid things like getting the girl pregnant when she shouldn’t be.

Or they perform magic recklessly, unmindful of whether the performance is magical or farcical in the eyes of the audience. Sometimes the magic is so farcical some girls in the audience would rather be impregnated than watch the show.

PhotobucketAgain, this is not to blame the kid on Facebook.  We have all been reckless before.  One time or another, we have made a fool of ourselves instead of fooling the audience. We all made mistakes.

And we will continue to make mistakes if we don’t take to heart the lessons of the past.  If we don’t remember the mistakes we made and steer clear of them, then we are doomed to repeat them. We preordain ourselves not to raise the level of our magic.

What then could have been done to salvage that Facebook umbrella production?

Let me leave you one crisp advice: watch your angle.

Most magic performances, especially productions from body loads, are vulnerable to angles.  The weak angles are the left and right sides of you.  The weakest, most vulnerable angle is everything behind you.

For all I know, the kid magician on Facebook has perfected his production technique.  This is good and admirable.  But what is wrong with his performance was not the technique, or the secret move, but the staging and audience management to protect the secret move.

Here’s another crisp advice: read books on the theories of performing magic. Study also the basics of theater to learn about blocking, movement, highlighting and masking your actions. Just the tiniest bit of knowledge about staging and audience management would have made that umbrella production a perfect presentation.

Well, that’s not a crisp advice, but heck, I’m always wordy when I have less to say.

Stay magical,