long and winding road photo: The Long and Winding Road IMG_9322-1.jpgI have seen magicians who keep performing from sunset to sunrise. They are like the Energizer battery. They keep going and going…They seem to trudge on a long, winding road.

I have been in a production cast of a magic show that ran for three hours. I have even been in a five-and-half hour show.

theater photo: Movie Theater Screenshot-1_4_20105_22_31AM.pngAfter those shows, I sit in one dark corner of the theater. I contemplated how runaway shows could happen.

They dismay me. Kilometric shows don’t happen by accident. They happen by design.

They result in vague magic that lacks impact.

A magic performance need not be vague. Many have become so, though. Magicians pile up ornaments on their routines. They think the more adornments they add to their presentation the better it becomes.

Many magicians stretch their performances to inordinate lengths. They think that, like their manhood, magic’s allures are measured in lengths.

They forget that clarity and conciseness are virtues, not impropriety.

Famous teachers of magic have taught us for ages the test for clarity. A magic performance is clear if a spectator can state in one sentence the plot of a magic trick. The pithier the plot outline, the stronger is the magic.

A lay persons’ description of David Blaine‘s Balducci Levitation illustrates this principle.  When a girl on the street described what she saw David did, she said, “He floated.”

You can’t get more concise than that.

The lesson of the Beatles song is not to walk down the long and winding road.

Shorten your performance. Streamline it by peeling off the extraneous twists and turns, the zigs and the zags.

I said “extraneous”.  Twists and turns and zigs and zags have their usefulness if done in moderation. They add suspense to your performance. They intensify interests.

But a profusion of it will muddle the trick’s plot. It will leave your audience with an empty feeling and lead them to say, “What the heck was that all about?”

Stay magical,