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When I perform for adult audiences, I always include at least one mind reading or prediction routine, just to experience the joy of performing mentalism.
However, I chose carefully the occasions that I perform it. I view it is a forbidden fruit. If eaten without the right knowledge, it will poison the audience.
Mentalism is easy to present as a boring piece. I discovered this awful truth many years ago.
However, many other mentalists, or magicians who dabble in it, had not received the same epiphany. They continue to perform it willy-nilly. The upshot? They give their audiences a good, relaxing sleep during the show.
Now listen to me. You may not like what I’m about to tell you, but you need to listen to me anyway. Mentalism requires a higher degree of showmanship and excellent presentation than what is normally required of magicians when performing magic.
Mentalism is a minimalist act. The performer does not produce a bevy of scantily clad babes to regale the audience. There’s no heart-thumping music in the background, no strobe lights, confetti cannons, and other theatrical effects.
There’s only the audience and the mentalist, pitted against each other in a duel of wits. He is holding a pen, pieces of paper and some envelopes. The audience is seated on comfortable chairs. No other aural or visual stimuli to keep people’s attention for long periods. The work to keep them intrigued and interested in the show rests wholly on one person, the mentalist, whose only main tool is his articulateness.
There lies the irony of the matter. The only element not minimalist about mentalism is the profligate use of words.
Unfortunately, many mentalist are not entertainingly articulate. Some of them may be articulate, but only few are entertaining in their facility with words.
To make matters worse, those who are not articulate at all think they have the gift of gab. And so they talk and drone on and on, thinking wrongly that in doing so they are regaling their audience with their volubility.
They would not listen to feedback that long orations bore the audience. While many orators and preachers can mesmerize audiences with endless talks, not many mentalists and magicians have the ability to talk long and entertain.
It’s like being funny. Not every one is funny, but many magicians try to be one—with disastrous effect.
In the same way, many magicians who love their voices also try to engage their audience with long and endless chatters, and the effect is no less disastrous.
The good news is, not all speeches and chatters are boring. There’s a way to make them entertaining.
Keep posted. I may write about how to make entertaining speeches—-as soon as I learn how to do it.
- 10 Tricks to Annoy Magicians (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- One Word to Make You Smarter than Most Magicians in the Philippines (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)