Hey guys, I recently submitted my Performing Magic in School essay to Kevin Froelich of Penguin for the online magazine that they're doing. He said that it was good, but not exactly suited for a magazine. So, he asked me to re-write it as more of a "story", while still including some good information on performing in school... and this is what I got. I E-Mailed this to him about 10 minutes ago, so we'll see what happens. Please, tell me what you think.
Performing Magic in School
Its jut a normal Tuesday morning as John walks into school, granted that he’s running a few minutes late. As he walks in the direction of his first class, someone shouts his name. “John!” He slowly turns around, surprised to see a group of people he’s never seen before motioning to him. Cautiously, he walks over to them.
“I heard you can do magic,” says one of the guys… obviously one of the more popular people in the school. Naturally, John says yes, and nervously pulls out a deck of cards. He’s been practicing his ACR for months… he’s ready, and now is the perfect time to show it off.
As he has a spectator withdraw a card from the deck, John begins to notice all the signs of nervousness on his part: his palms become sticky with sweat, his right leg begins to tremble uncontrollably, and butterflies are doing back-flips in his stomach.
“Relax,” he thinks to himself. “It’s just like you practiced… you’ll do great.” As their signed cards jumps to the top, he begins to notice that his nervousness was slowly going away… he was growing more confident and comfortable with his audience.
As he again slides their card into the middle of the deck, somebody shouts, “You had two cards!” Quickly, quietly, John responds, “Good eye,” and gives a knowing smile to the noisy spectator. He is now confident that the heckler won’t interrupt his performance again… but the heckler does.
“You hear that everybody? He had two cards! My card wasn’t really in the middle, it was a different card!” Everyone begins to look around, whispering. John hears one that stands out in particular, “Of course he did… Brent’s right!” As the whole crowd begins to talk, John attempts to quiet them down.
“Everybody, please quiet! If you believe this jerk that I had two cards, I will disprove his little theory! Brent, please take your signed card… make sure it’s one card… and place it anywhere in the deck.” Brent complies, and places the single card in the middle. John executes a flawless Riffle Pass, but in the midst of it, all the cards drop to the floor. He cursed under his breath, but decided to try to recover. “Brent, I’m going to be honest with you… I just screwed up big time. But, I’m going to try to recover from it. Please, reach down there and grab one card… but don’t look at it yet.”
Brent slowly but surely selects a card from the mess of cards scattered around the floor. He lifts it up a few inches up off the ground. John says, “Brent, please… turn over the card.” John just about wet himself when it was Brent’s card! The audience started screaming… a few ran off. “Maybe this won’t turn out as bad as I thought,” thought John to himself. As everyone is reveling in the amazement of the last phase, John crouches down and gathers up the rest of the deck, and begins again.
As Brent grabs the deck to examine it, John remembers what his mentor once told him… you are always in control of your performances, and you do not have to give in to the spectator. John gently pulls the cards back from Brent… this is his performance, not theirs. But there is a problem… Brent won’t give the deck back. “How am I going to get out of this?”
“Well, guys, it appears as if Brent no longer wants me to continue performing. Thanks for watching… Brent, you can keep the deck as a souvenir of my performance.” John walks away, but, not surprisingly, the crowd viciously pulls the deck away from Brent, gives it back to John, and begs him to continue.
Relieved that this tactic actually worked, John told the audience, “This time you will actually get to see Brent’s card jump from the middle… to the top of the deck.” As he is saying this, he puts a large bend in the card, and replaces it in the middle of the deck. He counts to three, snaps his fingers, and the audience’s jaws drop to the floor as they see their bent card “pop” to the top of the deck.
At this point, the girls are on their feet screaming, the guys are cussing in amazement, and John… John is fairly satisfied with his performance. It was not his best yet, but he could definitely see improvement… and a lot of room for more improvement. As he puts the cards back in the case, John gives Brent his signed card to keep as a souvenir, and walks to class.
As he is walking, John begins to review the performance in his head? What went wrong? How could he fix this? This was all part of his after-performance “ritual”
First and foremost, he let Brent grab the deck from him. Of course, he wasn’t using a trick deck, so he didn’t have to worry about him finding anything, but he should not have gotten a hold of the deck in the first place. Once again, his mentor’s words came into his mind… you are always in control of your performances, and you do not have to give in to the spectator. The next time this happened, he would not let them have the deck, but rather take control of his performance and keep his props in his own hands… not his audiences.
The second problem that arose during his performance was, well... Brent. Brent may have spotted what he saw, but he was very rude about it, and seemed like he was just out to get John. John reviewed how he handled Brent. Should he have called out Brent, and let the audience take care of him themselves? He didn’t think so; he thought he did the right thing. But what if the Brent hadn’t stopped? He could have completely ruined John’s performance in less than a minute. There were so many things wrong with his performance, and John began to feel worse and worse about it.
And what about that recover from dropping the deck? How in the world did that happen? Maybe God wanted him to succeed… maybe it was just luck. Either way, he knew that it would eventually turn out bad. Word would get out about it, and the horrible part was… he would never be able to repeat it. Maybe it was something he should look into developing a method for. Either way, he had to work on his Passes before performing them again.
The last thing was his actual performance. While his technical skills were as close to perfect as they had ever been, he didn’t feel that his presentation was quite up to par. He began brainstorming ideas to make this better as he sat down in First Hour Algebra. Perform more often, perform for larger groups of people, and most importantly: perform material that he is very comfortable with.
John knew that once word got out, his performances would have a “snow-ball” effect on each other… people telling all their friends, those people telling their friends… and pretty soon he would constantly be performing. This would mean he would have to practice the material he already knew more, and an even scarier thought… he would have to learn new material, and learn it fairly quickly. He knew that he had to make each of his performances like it was his last, and this was a goal he knew he could accomplish. As John slowly began to daydream about future performances, the bell suddenly rang, and class started…
After what seemed like an eternity, the bell finally rang again… ending first hour. One down, six more to go...
Last edited by adjones on Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.