Reasons

Reasons for doing a trick can manifest themselves on many levels and affect many details. Why, for instance, do I perform "The Tamed Card" for audiences as I do? Well, to have a hobby of collecting playing cards, all chosen at a specific time, while strange, is feasible. And I start to perform the effect because the time dictates that I do so.

Why is there only a small packet of cards? The reason is that it is a collection, and the collection is not yet all that extensive. This is also the reason why the cards are kept in a little leather wallet.

Why are the cards transformed from one to the other? Well, this was not my original intention, but since the wrong card was chosen it had to be changed to be identical with the rest of the cards in the collection. When the new card proves stubborn and instead a card from the collection transforms into a duplicate of it, then I, being in this predicament (a situation of conflict), decide to take the easy route and change the rest of the collection into duplicates of the new card.

If you study the routine, and for every detail ask yourself "Why is this done?" you will see that everything is accounted for. With a routine like this its impossible to say, "So what," or "Who cares."

Having reasons to do a trick does not put off the less educated members of an audience, and it contributes to maintaining the interest of the better educated. Basically it boils down to preventing nonsense, avoiding stupidity and triviality. The whole face of magic would change completely if we never again did things without having a presentational reason. The majority of magic today is vacuous nonsense. At least, in most cases the answer to the question "Why?" evades me completely. Is it any wonder, then, that intelligent people, when they see magic performed, shrug and turn away, finding no reason to be interested? If we wish to be seen as a mature performing art, we must stop being shallow and trivial ourselves. Ensuring that there are always reasons for the effects we perform is a small step but an essential one in elevating magic to a level worthy of respect.

To begin with, we should immediately stop accepting such ideas as "The audience doesn't notice all those nuances," for in virtually every audience there are those who do.

An Added Advantage

Of course what is desirable for one person may not be for another; but I must say that I enjoy working more when the audience is capable of picking up some of the finer points of my presentation.

In my work I hope there are finer details to be enjoyed, and this actually influences the type of work I get. You see, every performer attracts the market for which he is best suited.

If my work didn't contain such details, when more sensitive and educated people see it they wouldn't feel much interest, and the idea of booking me for their party wouldn't enter their minds. Consequendy, all the bookings generated by my work will be for those people who don't notice or appreciate the details, or for noisy venues in which such nuances are lost. But if finer details exist, thanks to them I will often be booked for quieter parties, where the audience has an opportunity to enjoy those fine points. And these quieter parties generate other similar bookings. So I end up with more work for more appreciative audiences in better venues. I can still work the other sorts of jobs as well. After some years, though, I've found that more and more of the bookings I get are better suited to me and my style of performance.

Some say that you can forget the finer details. Such things are never appreciated. These performers ignore them, concentrating instead on making their work acceptable to only the lowest intelligence and attention levels. The saddest thing about this approach is that it becomes self-fulfilling. Such work begets audiences of the lowest levels, and when these audiences respond favorably to the work, not recognizing its artistic poverty, their reactions reinforce the performers confidence in his decision. Yet, more sensitive, educated people, seeing the work of these performers, won't be interested in it and consequently won't book these acts for the lovely, quiet dinner parties they may be holding for their wealthy business contacts, who in turn...

However, by appealing to a wider range of appreciation, your work will be acceptable to a broader market. This aspect alone should attract the attention of anyone wishing to perform full-time. And with this come added benefits: You can enjoy a greater variety of audiences and reactions to your work, and the broader appreciation of your talents will make your performances more fun for you, too. I know that I certainly enjoy performing magic that has some artistic depth to it, for it allows me to present material that is more interesting to both me and my audiences.

THE granddaddy of them all. 3, the most beautiful number of the lot. A triangle, one of the most sturdy constructions, every point holding the others in place, keeping each other in balance. Like three flowers in a vase.

The three should never be in a straight line. If you throw a line through the three points the line must be curved. It must have tension and movement. It goes up or it goes down, but it is never straight. The three components are never the same size; like the flowers in our vase are different sizes, so is the distance between 1 and 2 different from the distance between 2 and 3. If they were equal, it would be mechanical, lifeless, dead. But when they are different, the points start to vibrate, influence each other, color each other. They are alive.

5, THE SON OF THREE. 5 is beautiful too. After all, it is the son of three. It is

So it is again 3. 3, 4 and 5 are three small ones, making one big one. It is

Or it can be

7, THE GRANDSON OF 3.

9, THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF THREE.

Et cetera.

Since magic is not static, it must therefore be something that happens, that moves along. It is the rhythm more than anything else that holds the beauty of 3. The rhythm of 3 makes for balance; it is a curved tension line; it engenders beauty, containing inherent harmony.

3 is relatively easy to handle, but 5, 7 or even 9 get harder and harder to do. Because the rhythm is in the process, the larger numbers become harder because the first beats are not felt so strongly in a longer procedure; they may be forgotten in the feelings of the audience, and so the initial pattern of the rhythm is lost. Also, with higher numbers the rhythms start to interact so vividly, so wildly, it becomes harder and harder to keep them under control. These rhythms certainly are odd.

However, three- and five-beat rhythms are certainly possible to handle.

1: 1 is a very basic number, rather down to earth. It is dead, turned into itself; it is the ouroboros, the worm that devours its own tail; it cannot communicate. It is like a piece of clay thrown onto the potters turntable. Slap! and that's all. It comes from nowhere and it goes nowhere.

2: 2 promises 3, but never delivers the third beat and so leaves a void, an empty feeling. If you throw a line through two points it will always be a straight line, tensionless; it is not bent like the archer's bow.

4: Although four beats can be handled as if it is a 3-based number, doing so is difficult. For instance, 1-2, 3—4. You have to keep the tension in an almost artificial way, to prevent the audience from relaxing after 3. It is better to add a fifth beat. Or to remove one.

6: Same problem as 4; it is better to take away a beat or to add one.

No, 1, 2, 4 and 6—they are not true family members; they are bastards, nasty kids who are hard to handle.

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