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December 06, 2010

Boredom and Confusion in Magic

Boredom and the confusion are two of the magician's greatest enemies, but they are a distant second to the magician's most obvious danger: revelation of his secret. Nevertheless, I've seen magicians lose their audience because they grew bored and confused. It happens to me all the time. Confusion is a close sibling of the revelation of a secret, because it is almost as bad: both fail to provide the illusion of magic. Boredom is a close cousin, since there might be some magic, but it isn't compelling enough to engage an audience.


Confusion
One time, while performing a card routine at a party, I looked up at the girl I'd been performing for and she said. "I have no idea what you just did." Usually this is a complement, as in, "that was so amazing I have no idea what you did to accomplish what I saw," but this time it was clear that she simply didn't know what I was even trying to make it look like I was doing. After practicing the routine so many times, I had forgotten what the audience was supposed to be seeing. Real magic happens when the magician is not only aware of what the audience is supposed to see, but sees it himself, leaving the technique to subconscious, instinctual reaction that does not have to distract either himself or the audience from the presentation of the impossible.

A confused audience will quickly become a bored one.

Boredom
Being an engaging, entertaining performer with great patter will always help avoid boredom, and there are a lot of magicians who use very simple effects as a means of showing this off. On the other hand, there are other magicians who never bore anyone because their magic speaks for itself. Boredom is often the result of an effect that simply isn't amazing enough. There are a lot of magicians who still use material from the past that today's modern audiences have either seen already or no longer find impressive. 


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