“Marc, I was wondering, would you mind doing a couple of tricks for everybody? You don’t have to, but everybody is really excited to see you perform something”
This is the problem with people finding out you are a magician. My girlfriend’s father is a super nice guy, I had been staying with her family for about a month so what could I say to this ? He knew I had cards on me, I brought them so while I was in the car for 2 hours I could spend my time playing my new exciting game called “Shuffle the deck, memorise, verify, then do it again”, for instructions on that game, see its title.
We had arrived at my girlfriend’s auntie’s birthday party about an hour before. I had found a comfy chair, a glass of champagne with edible flowers at the bottom and a table full of tasty morsels I could subtly gorge on as I had weird little conversations with the others that had the same idea.
For the last couple of years I have considered myself somewhat retired from paid performance. Due to illness I felt I was not in the right headspace nor physically presentable enough to do the corporate or private party thing. Of course I still show people things and I am constantly learning more theory, techniques and applying them to effects, it is just I cannot be doing it as my job anymore at the moment.
I grit my teeth momentarily “Sure Michael, let me know when” I say and I hobble outside with my walking stick for 5 minutes with the other smoking social outcasts to indulge in dangerous behaviour. Upon my return, the lovely dining table has candles flickering nicely on it, about 40 people sitting and standing around it and they look at me expectantly, apparently this set up is for me.
“Good evening everybody” I say politely, they applaud and I sit down.
I rarely know what I am going to do before I do it, I generally decide what feels right as I am performing and change my performance accordingly and this time was no exception.
It was a surreal experience, I felt myself slip into ‘performance mode’ like the good old days. I was incredibly relaxed, I felt no pressure, just like I remembered it used to be.
I hooked my cane on my chair, took out my cards, did a pressure fan to check the smoothness of the cards so I could calibrate my fingers and gave them a quick table riffle shuffle. The audience gasped. I couldn’t figure out why for a moment, I did not know shuffling was impressive enough to gasp for but then again, who am I to judge !
I started to perform effects and naturally it started to flow into a smooth act. An audience member made a comment and it led me to do a new trick I had been working on called ‘Rebel’.
This effect is where I tell the audience I am going to break the three rules of magical performance,
1:Do not tell your audience what is going to happen,
2: Do not repeat a trick and
3: Do not tell the audience how it is done.
So the audience member picks a card, returns it to the deck and I start cutting the pack until they say “Stop” and of course, they have stopped at their selection. I then tell them how I do it, (don’t worry) tell them I am going to do the same thing again and what is about to happen.
“This time to make it more difficult...” I say “I shall put down, not big packets of cards, but one card at a time, and when you say stop, your card will be there”.
The audience makes a bit of excited noise and the spectator I am using says “Stop” (before I had even started dealing) but nobody except me hears him, I pretend I don’t and I put the cards in front of him while still speaking. “In fact, YOU can deal yourself!”, since I knew the chances of him sticking with his idea of saying ‘stop’ immediately were rather high, I just had to make sure his card was on the top.
Sure enough, he picks up the cards and deals one down and says proudly “STOP!”. The audience laughs, the spectator thinks he is rather clever and I tell him to turn over the card he stopped at, his card, the audience went wild.
A successful first full scale performance of Rebel and I was rather pleased with it.
I did about 20 minutes of performance, ending with a 15 card selection and the audience was very appreciative with a standing ovation.
It really lifted my spirits, I know it was not one of my paid corporate gigs but it was very nice to perform again after considering my performing days may have been over at the age of 29.
I recently got a letter from a lady that was at that party, she was talking about how wonderful the performance was and sent me pictures she took as I performed.
She also wrote that her daughter is having her 21st next year in Queensland and she would like to fly my girlfriend and I up there so I can perform, I will get paid and she will put us up for a week and take us around everywhere. I may accept.
Maybe the time is coming when I will step back into the game, it looks like it is still fun.