Pardon the analogy, but I’m not being facetious. I’m just a wanna-be sex guru trying to be factual.
A good magic performance is a like a sex act—it’s foreplay first before the climax.
If you haven’t noticed it yet, let me point it out to you. Modern audiences are not much different from horny lovers. They have short attention span no matter how long-lasting their sexual drive is.
They don’t look kindly on long foreplay, or—in the case of a magic act—long build-up. Audiences today want the magician to come fast and furious right off the opening notes of their background music. They want them to reach the climax in the first few seconds of their act, maintain the sensation and build it up to a crescendo until they reach the big O.
Now, not even sex acts can accomplish that, so what chances a magic act has?
Most well-routined magic acts need ample build-up to be entertaining. Take away that build-up and you are left with magical moments lacking in drama and style.
The choices for quick, visual, no build-up tricks are limited. Appearing/disappearing canes and candles, silk productions and vanishes are the few I can think offhand. A magician can conceivably use them to build a rapid-fire act of productions and vanishes, but then how many of them can do such acts without repeating each other?
After saying all this, let me impart to you an important lesson I myself have not yet learned but doesn’t stop me from teaching it to you.
However, don’t overdo the build-up bit to such length that you go on and on without the end in sight. You will bore the audience that way as surely as you will bore your partner if you are all foreplay and nothing follows.
She will reach for her cell phone and text her mother if you don’t get the deed done and over within a reasonable length of time.