My Essay – Magic In School
So, does magic have a place in schools? My answer is yes. But you have to do it right.
You see, in a high school, most people just want to blend in, fit in with the crowd. However for there to be a “crowd” to fit in with, some people need to be different. The way to be popular is to be a person who’s different.
Being different is hard. If you get it right, you’re in, if you get it wrong, you end up in the playground with one friend. Magic is a way to get it right. This is because it’s something that, let’s face it, isn’t really in the public domain for kids. Because they haven’t really seen it, kids don’t know how to react. For this reason they can be the most amazing hecklers at times. They also feel a need to grab everything you’re using.
But still high schoolers are the best audience. They are intrigued by what you are doing, and this makes school classrooms/cafeterias/courtyards/playgrounds the best places to draw crowds.
Now, many times have I heard the term “simplicity is the key”, and it couldn’t be truer in schools. Tricks that I have just looked at and forgotten about kick @ss in schools! A force is great for anyone; it can be used in so many different ways. Yet the best way to use a force in school is to put the cards on the table and just say aloud the card you have forced. The trick that went down best was not Sudden Deck, was not Factory Packed, was not the Raven, it was a Hindu Force and Mind Read.
Do tricks with stuff you find in school. Get a gimmicked calculator or something. Our school is really close to a supermarket and so to emphasise the fairness of what I’m doing I ask some kid to buy the cards for me (with my money) and then I break the seal when I’m about to do something and do a bit of comedy while they’re passed round and everyone gives them a shuffle. For Factory Packed, I send somebody in to buy any pack of crisps and do the setup in my form room at break time. These kind of things with plenty of witnesses convince your spectators you are a true miracle worker.
Think of when it is appropriate to perform. For example, a Philosophy lesson may seem like a good time to perform some “miracles”, but you should think it through. How many people in that class are going to be offended by you claiming God-like powers? Also, position yourself correctly. If your tricks are very angley (try to avoid in schools) then direct your friends to the table against the wall and start tricking, the crowds will come to you.
Talking of crowds of people, be careful. Let them come to you. This has two bonuses, firstly only people who are interested bother to stop, people you may recognize as “hecklers” will check you out and then move on, I don’t know why. Also, if you stand there and shout for an audience, people are going to think you are a show-off and a prat. Gossip spreads, and so you never have to introduce yourself. On that note, the only line you will need to open a routine is “wanna see something weird?”
Bringing me nicely on to openers. In my experience the best way to draw a crowd is to do a trick to a friend quietly and in the background to everyone else. As soon as they realise what you are doing, they will gather pretty quick.
As this is what I call a “natural crowd” people will surround you if you are not carefully placed
If you sit at the front of the class, levitate a pencil sharpener and start sharpening your pencil. Stuff like that gives you instant reactions.
Do not be put off by swearing. The most common way to get attention is to do something visual and half way through one kid shouts “[edited]?!” and everyone looks, this is a crucial moment, do not screw it up!
I think that is about long enough. I will be monitoring this topic via e-mail for about a month so all questions/complaints/suggestions for the future should be answered pretty quick. By questions I mean about the essay or performing magic in schools generally. Any comments at all will be appreciated