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That something is you. Filled with doubt that your material is not good enough for your audience, you become tentative, hesitant, and timid. The result is a less-than enjoyable performance.
Inhibition cramps your style. It prevents your from bringing out the best in you.
How do you prevent inhibition from getting in the way of good performance?
Let met tell you a few ways. I’m not a psychologist. I am just a Mel Gibson look-alike. I thrive on my looks, not on the sharpness of my mind. So take my advice with grains—lots of them—of salt.
Make sure your material is strong. That’s right. Search the magic world with the strongest material you can find, afford and willing to learn.
Don’t believe the drivel passed around by armchair magicians as a nugget of wisdom that says “it is not what you do but how you do it that matters in a magic performance.”
If you will bring only the 21 Card Trick to perform for an audience of 3,000 surgeons during a dinner show to close their national convention, you will naturally feel inhibitions. You will fear that you will fail. And once you fail, you will fear the surgeons will operate on you without anesthesia using the knives and forks on their table.
Let this be a warning. No matter how artistically, funny, or uniquely you perform the 21 Card Trick, you will drive the surgeons so mad they will like to perform brain surgery on you to see if they can find spiders inside your head for being so gullible as to believe the armchair magicians’ famously ludicrous advice.
Make sure you can do your act in your sleep. Meaning, you know your material so thoroughly that you don’t pause to think what comes next in the performance. If you doubt your ability to perform the show smoothly, artistically and entertainingly, you will naturally be inhibited on stage. Once that happens, you will be performing below your potential and your show will suffer.
Make sure your material has been audience-tested. If you brought a brand-new routine to break it in, the natural feeling is to fear failure. No matter how many times you practice a new trick in front of the mirror, you will still have no guarantee of getting a huge response from the audience the first time you perform an untested trick.
So if you want to have peace of mind, in important shows, perform only tricks you have killed audiences with in the past.
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