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PhotobucketSure, many magicians belong to the packs-flat-plays-big category. They dislike props. They forswear the use of large ones. For that reason, they don’t bring any. They can entertain people with small-object magic, or so they claim.

By advocating the use of props, I’m courting reproof from the one-suitcase-show advocates. Their usual argument is that it is not what the magician does that matters, but how he does it.

I have trouble swallowing this argument. First, I believe what the performer does and how he does it are both important. Second, the props (and the intelligent choice of them) are the “how a magician does it”, and not the “what he does it” part.

If I confuse you, just keep up with me. I’m the world’s best hair splitter.

Props are beautiful things. They are unique to magic as scenery are unique to theater. Some moneyed lovers of magic even collect props and store them in their basement, where they spend hours admiring the props’ workmanship and deceptiveness. You see, some props, by themselves, are woks of art and, therefore, worthy of the admiration of magicians.

Props also suggest a great production value. It’s true that the masters of the past could entertain audiences with tricks out of their pockets. However, they lived in pre-MTV world. They performed in an era still uncluttered by digital gizmos.

They did not perform at parties where the children guests bring PSP players, tote around digital cameras and brandish iPads. I know the frustrating feeling of performing a sponge-ball routine for children playing video games on their mobile gadgets.

PhotobucketIt has a remedy, though. Break out the big guns—say, the Vanishing Elephant illusion. A performance of Fraidy Cat Rabbit, no matter how well done, just wouldn’t cut it.

Here’s an advice I’d like you to stitch on your brain. If, during your show, the kids start to stand up to look for ice cream, wheel onstage the big props. I assure you the children won’t move. They’ll be transfixed on the seats. Even adults can hardly resist the allures of big props. When you see signs the grown-ups are growing restless, unveil onstage the buzz-saw illusion.

This doesn’t mean you won’t suck. It just means you’ll immobilize your audience.

If an event organizer is in the crowd, he’d be impressed. He’d probably hire you to perform at his next corporate event, just on the merit of the size of your show.

Stay magical,