It was the final week of the school holidays here and it's always my busiest performing time. I'd just like to write about my shows that I had and share my thinking and psychology behind the planning of the show and the actual routining of my tricks one after the other.
Every show has kids aging from 5-10 and anywhere from 20-50 kids per show. I've done plenty of shows before, but as a performer, I found that these 6 shows were my definite best shows to date. I understand psychology a bit more, and how to play off the kids reactions and it all went very well.
Here is my list
Spider On Back
My opening words are " I don't want to alarm anybody, but I am scared of spiders" I talk about how when I was setting up a spider crawled up my arm, and if they see it, just tell me. I turn around to fiddle about and they see a massive fake spider on my back and all have a great time yelling at me to turn around and that it's on my back etc etc
The reason that this is my opening, is because it establishes a connection between me and them right from the word go. Maybe some of them don't like spiders. It lets them know that I am just the same as them, and therefore in my opinion helps them better relate and like me, which means that they're more likely to play along during the show. It also gets them warmed up and ready for tricks like Strat and Hippity, where mistakes are made and it relies on them yelling out my mistakes to me.
Just the standard. However, I stand right in front of them and purposely drop the hanky pretending not to notice and while the kids are yelling " ITS ON THE FLOOR" I pretend to make it vanish. Repeat a 2nd time, and on 3rd attempt go through with the actual vanish
Once again, a bit of humor helps them warm to me as I am a stranger they haven't seen before. They witness their first piece of real magic on the 3rd attempt as the hanky completely vanishes in front of their eyes. Magic and laughter and interaction. Good so far.
After doing the ditch of the TT into my back pocket, I pull out my piece of rope and tell everyone about how much I love skipping and that it's my skipping rope. I ask for a volunteer to come up who really loves skipping to help me out. I reach into my pocket and pull out a 10cm piece of rope and tell (usually a girl) that this is her skipping rope (everyone gets a great laugh out of this, even the adults). I tell her Im just joking and to put that rope into her pocket for now (after the show she has a great souvenir of her helping me) and then go into my rope routine (which is stuff taken from Fibre Optics) with some great lines and audience interaction.
I chose the rope routine here, because once again, I feel that it establishes me as a person to them, and not just someone who uses lots of fancy box looking props to make things vanish (which I do later on). It's a very personal routine, and gets the kids looking forward to volunteering later on in the show seeing how much fun the volunteer had during the rope routine. I don't like just getting out rope as a "rope routine", so I came up with the idea of it being my skipping rope. Every child can pretty much relate to that, so once again I am building up our "friendship" before I get into tricks where I think audience magician trust becomes a factor.
Vanishing Coke Bottle (Nielsen)
After finishing the rope routine, I name drop my volunteer. " I dont know about __________, but doing magic certainly makes me thristy. Do you know what my favourite drink is? Coke! A nice glass bottle of coke. Does anybody here like Coke? Everyone pretty much raises their hand. I then go into the standard coke into brown bag, tip upside down, they don't believe, then bag crumples. It's about a 2 minute spot.
I choose this trick next because I believe in mini breaks in between magic. This gives the kids a chance to loosen up a bit and not have to invest constant attention for 30 minutes. That works out better for my show in the long run as when I need them and their focus, I can get it. Think of it as the rule when you're on a computer for hours on end, you need mini breaks before you go cross eyed and get RSI. Same thing. Just my opinion of course. Oh and obviously kids can relate nicely to coke and once again building up my friendship with them because they have the same things in common as the magician!
Opening lines, "Now I am sure that most of you are a bit young to have your license, except maybe you (point to a few very young kids, get a good laugh) but I'm sure that everyone here knows the rules of a traffic light. Right here is a traffic light (introduce props) I have a very interesting story to tell everyone, and I hope that you can all help me out." I go through the certain rules at different lights, ie, "What do you do at a green light? "GOOOOO"! etc etc
I start off by saying I was driving to a magic show and went through some lights and they were working correctly, the green light was at the bottom (put in green ball) the orange light was in the middle (put in yellow ball) and the red light was at top (put in red ball). " But here's the weird thing, when I came BACK through those lights, something was wrong" I lift up the shell to reveal red at bottom, green in middle and yellow on top. There is gasps at this point, something they weren't expecting. . " I didn't know what to do, whether I should go, stop, beep my horn or slow down. So being a magician, I thought I would use a bit of magic to fix things, and Im hoping that everyone here can help me as well.
What happens here, is I put the balls back in the correct order as they wiggle their magic fingers in front of them. I lift up the shell asking them to give themselves a massive clap and they start yelling that it's still broken. The red ball is at the bottom.
I explain that the red light must be broken. Lucky I have a repair shop nearby, I take the joker box (repair shop) and put in the red ball and ask for an assistant. I put the green and yellow ball into the shell. I explain that for the repair shop to fix the red light, we need a magic wand. I take out the wand and show the assistant that they must rub it on there arm to get some static electricity and then tap the repair shop twice. I give them the wand, its a breakaway. Everyone laughs, so do I. I explain that I have another spare wand. Give them that, and it breaks. EVEN BIGGER LAUGHS. I tell themto rub it on their arm anyway, they flail it around a bit, then tap the box, show the ball has vanished, and has appeared back under the shell in the correct order, and I ask that my assistant have a massive round of applause.
There is a reason that before I get out the more illusiony type tricks like this and hippity, I like to do more intimate tricks. I think that tricks like this need trust. If you open up with this trick, it's my personal belief that shenanigans would be called. Anyone who does kids shows knows that kids will call you straight up on stuff. I like this trick a lot. It's got a great flow, the story I have given it is really nice and it runs a nice length and the last thing that a routine like this needs is a break of the flow and routine, by interruptions and comments. I try to have the audience really like me as a person and as a magician by this trick, so that this doesn't happen, and they just really enjoy the story and the magic.
It's safe to say that this is a real highlight of my show. I have been working on my routine for almost 2 years now and it's become a real great piece of magic. All of the kids shows that I have done over the years have helped me know what parts work, what parts don't, what parts need work and I am finally very happy with the routine.
Here it is
I start off by having a few people examine the sponge and then go into the appearing spongeball routine where you take it put it in your pocket and it appears back in my hand, I do this until the novelty starts to wear off and then go into ripping the sponge into two sponges. "Now that I have two sponges, I will need two volunteers. How about a boy and a girl?" They come up and stand either side of me and cup one sponge in their hands. I pick up each of their sponges and put them back in their hand and do the old, they change places swindle. Everyone stares blankly at me, not knowing whether something so stupid could be so serious, so I say Ill do it again for everyone who forgot the clap. Repeat stupid swindle, an everyone just yells out, THEY'RE NOT EVEN MOVING YOU'RE JUST PUTTING THEM IN THE SAME PLACE. So I say, no no watch closely, this time one disappears from one of the volunteers hands and two appear in the others. Applause and gasps. I get the girl to hold on to the two sponges as the boy picks his favourite. Standard Ill take one you hold on to one, and then he has both of them. He sits down, and I offer to explain how this works.
I give the girl the two sponges to hold on to as I explain (this is probably the highlight of the show) it's all about invisible sponges, they're floating everywhere. Everyone laughs. I say, no no I'll show you. I pick a girl out of the audience, point to her, and say "don't move". The room goes quiet, I walk over (completely hamming this up) and take a sponge off her shoulder, people are laughing all over the show at the stupidity of this. I walk back over to the volunteer push the invisible sponge through her hand and she opens up and there's 3. EVERYONE ERUPTS.
Then I go into the 1 in my pocket 1 in my hand 1 in my pocket part of the routine. At the end when they all disappear, I have found that kids just say "where do they go? In your pocket? SO from experience, I open my hands to show that they have all disappeared, pause and let it register for 2 seconds and before they can contemplate where they've gone, I sneeze out a sponge, I then go into spongeballs from mouth. Kids love love love this part, I do it maybe 10 times, and then at the end produce a mouth coil to which they laugh so hard at. I stop, with the coil hanging out of my mouth and yell STOP LAUGHING! Well of course this only makes them laugh harder, and I produce they mouth coil and ask for a massive clap for my volunteers for helping.
The next piece is hippity hop rabbits. I didn't want to have two of my "illusions" right after the other. I wanted to bring the kids back to me and personalise it again for them. Really amaze them. Make them laugh, make them believe in real magic (believe me the 3rd invisible sponge appeareing truly does it) Make them remember that we're friends, so that I have their trust for when I do hippity.
"Wow, after all this magic I really am thirsty, you made me vanish my glass bottle of coke, so my second favourite drink is MILK! *Pour into tallest glass* But sometimes, I honestly can't even drink such a big glass, so I use *brings out medium cup and pours* *massive gasps* THIS GLASS! But you know what, sometimes, I can't even drink this much, so I use *brings out tiny glass* THIS MUCH *pours into little glass and even bigger gasps of amazement* But sometimes, I don't want to drink out of a glass, because I prefer to drink out of a party cup. *pours milk into party cup* Actually.....you know what, lets just get on with the magic *tips cup upside down, and crumples up into a ball* *APPLAUSE*
What a great little trick. I have a cheap version of it with plastic cups. But this is another real show stealer. Fantastic. Much like the vanishing coke bottle, this is just a small piece, to relax them and get them ready for my final trick, hippity hop. Reactions for this are out of this world and I just cant recommend it enough
Hippity Hop Rabbits
"I want to introduce everyone here to two friends of mine, now they're very shy but if you're nice to them, they will show you a magic trick I have been teaching them" I lift up the hats, and say, "say hello to my two friends." The kids think I am a loon for having wooden rabbits for friends, but they always play along
Introduce black rabbit named shadow and white rabbit named ranger.
Do the standard routine from here on in really, haven't added much of my own touches to this trick, it's a great effect just the way it is. I just wanted to personalise it a bit so I gave them names and told the kids they were my friends.
This turned out to be quite a mammoth post. I hope that you can see my psychology that I have used throughout this show, as well as the routining that I have used to maximum attention span and enjoyment from the kids. I hope the people that read this can maybe learn something from it about setting up a relationship with your audience before expecting them to follow you on your 30 minute journey.
Hope you enjoyed reading, I would love some feedback if you have time