I have been thinking recently about different peoples Performance styles. In doing this, I have discovered that many People are what I call, Stuck in the Past. Why and How are they doing this?
As many of you know, Robert Houdin was the first Magician, as we know Magicians today. He was first recognized by the World starting in 1845, when he opened 'Soirees Fantastiques' in Paris. His style of Performance was original in those days. He didn't wear the Wizards robes like other Magicians of Robert's time, he wore an evening dress. Why did he wear an evening dress? Because that was the clothing most commonly worn in 1845 . This gave the impression that subjects such as David Blaine and Criss Angel give to Audiences today; a man that can do supernatural things, but he looks just like a regular person would. However, Many Magicians are still wearing the type of clothes that Robert Houdin was wearing when he was performing for Audiences in 1845! I'm afraid that many people are not seeing the difference between then and now. I personally think that now, in the 21st centaury, we should be beyond top hats and white gloves.
However, it is not just the fact that people are wearing the clothes that are in my opinion outdated. It's the performance style of some of these people. For example, for those who live in England, you will know that Shakespeare is studied in Secondary Schools around the country. The Language in Shakespeare is very old, so is therefore difficult to understand. In the Elizabethan times, the Language used in Shakespeare was the norm, so for an audience in those times it was very easy to understand. I believe that it is exactly the same in Magic. Many Performers use an old fashioned Performance style, this is unnatural for an Audience to watch, as they are not used to it. I think that as long as this goes on, people will have the view of Magicians that they have had for a long time. - "For my next trick, I will pull a Rabbit out of a Hat."
For a gig, I don't wear street clothes, but in the same way, I don't wear an evening dress. Generally, I will wear a shirt, smart trousers and a Jacket. This is, what I find, not foreign clothing for a Audience, it is only smart clothing anyone might wear to a formal gathering. It does however, depend on the Gig. I may not wear a Jacket to some less formal occasions, and I may wear a tie to more formal occasions. For some gigs I might drop the shirt and wear a Black T-Shirt. As for my performance style, I am a Comedy Magician. Therefore my Performance style is... Comedy. I think it is important to find your style of Magic in order to avoid what I call, Stuck in the Past Magic.
However, I do think that you can go too far. I personally don't Blaine it. I do think that is perfectly normal to wear Street Clothes when you're Blaining it (I refuse to call it street magic). I am not a big fan of David's Personality on Camera. However, it works for him, and he got on TV for it, so it must be enjoyable for some people to watch. Many people are blindly following Blaine in his street magic, and this is what people think is Stuck in the Past Magic. I think that the Blaine faze is over, however we do have Mr. Angel, who everyone is now blindly following in just the same way as they did Blaine. These magicians are going to constantly what they see as Stuck in the Past, so they are getting brought up by the latest magic trends. I think you have to find your performance style and stick with it, and don't get obsessive about getting stuck in the past.
To Conclude. I think that many People are Stuck in the Past. Doing Magic the way it was done from 1845 onwards. However, I think that many people get to paranoid about being stuck in the past, so follow blindly in Magic's latest trends. I think that you should find a performance style for you, that isn't copying the latest trends, suits your personality, and isn't stuck in the past.