An Approach To Magic Part

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Roger Crosthwaite

Magic is, by its very nature, a visual art. If what you are doing cannot be seen, there is little point in doing it! Much of the close-up magic, being performed today, has been "artificialised" by the convention conditions, which have become indispensible for so many of the latest "miracles". The working magician seldom has anything remotely approaching ideal conditions. It is no good expecting a clear tabletop. Indeed, I quite often find that I have to perform standing back from the table, if there is one. Over the years, I have learned to structure my magic so that, if needs be, it can be performed without any working surface at all. At the same time, most of it can be adapted to be performed on the tabletop, if and when one becomes available. As a part of this structuring, it was necessary to get used to holding things (cards etc) so that the audience can see them. This may sound like a trivial point to make, but I have often seen magicians holding up cards with the faces tilted away from the spectators. When you are standing at a table and the audience are seated, the angles will be different to those, when you are also seated..You may have to modify your handling to take this into account.

The foregoing is so fundamental that it hardly needs saying. What is not perhaps quite so well understood is the importance of being visually aware — of making your magic as visual as possible. Long drawn out presentations, which require a lot of non-visual communication, are not usually good entertainment. The best effects are those where it is instantly apparent that something magical is happening. Sight is the sense that conveys the illusion of magic in the strongest way. Magicians should capitalise on this, whenever possible. There are many ways to do so. The appearance of something large and unexpected at the end of a routine with small objects is one. The shower of "baby" rabbits at the end of the multiplying bunnies is another. Colour changes and flourishes with cards are yet another. I often use the colour change of a card as an opener when I move in on a table. It is startling and instantaneous visual magic. 1028

I often feel that a lot of mentalists would be better if they gave a little thought to making their magic more visually entertaining. The same applies to card and coin workers. Often a low visual content can be enhanced by the introduction of a few sight gags, or even elegant, artistically designed props.

One danger, which must be avoided, is to difuse a strong, visual content by excessive movement. If a performer is standing at a table and waving his arms about, while darting here, there and everywhere, the audience will find the strain of trying to follow him too much. To avoid this, try to define for yourself a performing arena, the centre, of which is the focal point, where the magic will take place. The size of this arena will vary. With some performers, it will merely be the tabletop. Others will need more space. I like a large area and will usually move about within a distance that can be defined by my outstretched arms. I will, however, keep within this distance. When I make a large movement, from one extreme of my performing area to the other, I will generally do so slowly, so as not to confuse the audience. There are times when the mechanics of the trick may require a large fast movement. On'the whole I make my larger movements slower movements.

Obviously you do not tell the audience that you are defining a performing arena, for yourself. They will, however, quickly become accustomed to watching things happen at a particular focal point. Once they do, you will be able to get all sorts of misdirection by moving one hand to the periphery of the area, while the other is openly doing something in the centre.

Bill Worsley

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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