My cousin asked my awhile back to perform for her child's birthday party. Now, when I finally think about it, I was overconfident in my skills. I accepted without a moment's hesitation. It took a few days for the daunting task to finally settle in and I realized how foolish I was. Thankfully and fortunately, I had a year in between to tell myself how stupid I could have been for jumping head over heels into a situation I literally had no expertise about.
My past repertoire consisted of Cards and Sponge balls. I did a little experiment in the early days of my preparation and I realized kids for the most part really can't comprehend cards. I threw that out of the way. I then had sponge balls, which I knew I would not be able to carry out an entire show with only one routine and act.
I had numerous nights where I was attacked by anxiety, plagued by future embarrassment and ridicule. My hands trembled, my eyes darkened and I knew that at the point I was at then, was no where near ready to handle a show full of short attention spanned kids, who were use to the colorful action panned shows that they are brainwashed by in today's society.
I then decided, to sweep up the tragic mess that I was in and pull myself together. I bought Seriously Silly by David Kaye and kept my eyelids open with toothpicks analyzing every minute, until they images were burnt into my eyes like hieroglyphics. My jaw stood gaped with astonishment as the knowledge slapped me repetitively, reminding me every single time, that I was an idiot for accepting such a task.
Out with the old and in with the new, I began to research and experiment. I asked about the age group that I would be performing for, and about the theme of the show. Carnival, and the kids would be 5+ with the birthday child turning 2. Children barely escaping kindergarten, teenagers ready to rebel against adults, and adults themselves tortured by the very same children. These were the people that were going to look at me, and gaze into my very soul, forming an expectation I knew I would have to meet and overcome.
I threw out my deck of cards and sponge balls, and I picked up Hippity Hop Rabbits. I found out a little later on that my cousin was planning on handing out goody bags that contained coloring books. *Bing* A light bulb brightened up in my head, and I obtained the Magic Coloring Book, a classic I remember myself enjoying several times. I then picked up Paper Hat Tear, reminding myself that I would have to interact and keep these attention-challenged children absorbed into my show.
The Magic Coloring Book, although simple was something I still found compelling. I knew that this could have probably been the show maker I was looking for. I knew that there was a whole in the original "basic" routine that was learned. So I decided to throw in an appearing crayon with the act, and I was able to stretch out this "simple and basic" act to 10 minutes alone. Simply amazing was my opinion, as I practice and performed, obtaining delight from my most trusted friends and their siblings.
I realized that the carnival theme was something I would have to fit into. My patter and my presentation would have to make me become apart of the carnival itself. I chose an acceptable costume, colorful in appearance, matching the color theme of Red and Yellow might I add. My patter, although this may border the lines of gloating, is a natural talent I harbor. I've practiced and practice, keeping up late nights with shots of Red Bull and Coffee.
I wanted to be something besides a family member that was helping another family member. I wanted to be something besides a kid with a knack for cards and little red meatballs. I wanted to be a magician that would give these children, these teenagers, and those adults a show that would entertain them for a lifetime. I tested my performance for trusted friends and I've gauged their reactions, changing and manipulating myself to meet the needs that I know they expect.
With this training experience, I've reached a point where I can truly say I don't recognize the arrogant kid that I was at that point in time, accepting a quest with no idea on what it may have contained. Did I also forget to mention that the time allotted was 30 minutes? Which I did my business research. Since it was my first show, and for a family member. I charged $120 USD.
My time limit is almost coming to an end, the performance is ever weening slightly closer. So before I reach the point of no return, I ask you all, "Am I ready?"