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 photo 6032dd2c-40d4-4553-aa6a-08da75972656_zpsqz97axh8.jpgComing up with a sparkling patter to go with a magic performance is difficult. That explains why many stage magicians would rather perform in pantomime.

Those daring to present a talking performance usually opt for the easy way. They use a generous amount of clichés in their scripts.

Clichés are expressions that have lost the power to touch the emotion due to years of overuse.

I’ve listed a few below. I hate them because I once made them parts of my show. But one day I had an epiphany. I realized I’ve grown tired of them.

children's birthday party photo: Cupcake Time! CupcakeTime9.jpgHateful cliché no. 1 – “Kids, what is the magic word?” And the children pipe their answer, “Abracadabra!” Or “Hocus Pocus!” Or “Happy birthday, Johnny!”

It’s bad that a magician asks the children 300 times during the show for the magic words. It is worse that the children answer “abracadabra” or “hocus pocus” 300 times.

If you didn’t notice it, abracadabra and hocus-pocus are themselves clichés.

Okay, using the birthday child’s name as the magic words might thrill the birthday mom. I get that. The part I don’t get is, why ask the children to say it 300 times?

What happened to the concept of overkill?

Or driving people up a wall?

Well, that expression might be a cliché too. So excuse me.

handkerchiefsHateful cliché no. 2 – “Children, what color is the handkerchief?” The children chorus, “Blue!”

“And this?” Children: “Red!”

“And this?” Children: “Yellow!”

All right, here’s my take on this patter. Magicians aspire to make their shows interactive. So they try to engage the children by hooking in their attention with questions.

Is that part clear to me?


But here’s the part I don’t understand. If a magician, who is an adult, doesn’t know his colors, what will the children think of him? That he is stupid?

And the follow-up questions “and this?”…”and this?” punctuating his patter hardly inspires. I doubt they are great hooks to keep the children’s attention.

 photo 1d347f71-1e39-4893-a832-fd637ae5170f_zps8zbwnnxk.jpgHateful cliché no. 3 – “Look, guys, let’s count together and the dove will disappear. One…two…three…”

And so it comes to pass that to make magic happen, the magician goes through the counting preamble. He counts, “One…two…three…” when something is about to disappear. Or to reappear. Or to change colors. Or to grow big. Or to become smaller.

After 10 minutes of doing that, only one…two…three…children are left in the audience. The rest of them are looking for ice cream or are playing tag.

You guessed it. Counting one..two…three…every time something magical is about to happen hardly qualifies as entertainment.

One good thing will come out of repeated counting, though. At the end of the show, the children will have learned how to count one..two…three…

Stay magical,