As far as reaction goes, sometimes people simply do not "know how" to react, or "when" to react. Heck some don't even know they are suppose to react at all! Another thought that comes to mind is, is mystifying an audience actually entertainment to "them?"
Sometimes I believe that fooling the audience, or in their terms maybe, "pulling one over on them" seem to be more entertaining for the magi than for the unsuspecting laymen. Is performing a miraculous feat that they can find no plausible explanation for really entertaining to them, or simply frustrating?
Sure they might express sheer joy for a few minutes or so, but put yourself into their places for a second. Would you not be frustrated if you had to go home and think about the alleged miracle you just saw all night, and not be able to come up with some feasible explanation?
As magicians. sometimes we are blown away by a new effect that we see, and we simply cannot wait to buy that effect, or the source to that effect so that we can learn it. True there is a difference between a magician wanting to know, or "needing to know," than a laymen needing to know, but isn't this basically the same thought process? We as magi will most likely know eventually, however they will most likely "never know."
They most likely will move on with their lives however, as magic is not a constant thought process running through their mind every day such as the case with a magic enthusiast, but the thought of what they once saw could come back to haunt them, and maybe even be quite torturous. So the point I am trying to make is, just how "entertaining" is being shown something that you cannot come up with any logical, or scientific explanation for? Is the audience really entertained, or simply made to feel stupid? I guess this all varies from person to person, and no two cases are ever the same.
Some may have stronger desires to "want to know," others may simply just accept it for what it is, "magic." So the real question is, who are we really entertaining, the audience, or ourselves? Is the "high" that we feel as performers after we have pulled off a miraculous feat of the impossible, equal to, or greater than the joy felt by the spectator?
Will that potential joy turn into frustration later, become even more joyous, or just simply forgotten? What one gets out of magic seems to vary a great deal from performer to performer. Seems as though how much one gets out of magic, or how much one invests into it has an influence on their overall general attitude towards it. Course this attitude, or interest so to speak can fluctuate either way over any given period of time.
Most laymen cannot appreciate the hard work, or values that go into this art, because they lack the knowledge of what is actually happening, but if you would reveal the "secret" to them they would actually be even less impressed, and even annoyed that they were stumped by such a simple, or basic method. They would be like "Oh is that all you did?"
Which actually makes magic's 'secrets' very important, and why they are so closely guarded. No one likes to be fooled for the most part, and they especially do not like being showed how dumb they were by not being able to see through what was merely a 'simple trick.' In fact they will actually lose respect for you, and just tell others "he doesn't know magic, he just does confusing puzzles."
Just thought I would pick everyone's brain on this a little bit, as it really does provoke one to think a little deeper, and outside the box if you will, hope you enjoyed what is probably the longest essay in penguin history!