Many people ask, what leads to a successful performance in the(Magical) close up arena…?
There are essentially two ingredients. If one is missing, the whole event falls flat, and it is YOUR FAULT.
While performing close up Magic you must connect with your audience. It is a two way street. They are actually part of the performance. Although you need to maintain some control or the effect will be lost. Your audience is there to participate. They will talk; they will touch and hold your props. They will at times interrupt. Every now and then I kiddingly tell them they are in my row boat, and I have control of the oars, so sit back and enjoy the ride. This is always said with a wink of the eye and will generate a laugh and get the attention you might need at the moment.
Use and remember their names…they will love you for it. Connect by always performing clean magic. Do not cross the line. They are allowed to respond with “blue material”, but you never perform it. I don’t mean to be stuffy, but this is where you let the reigns go, and let them have their laughs. You’ll get credit for the laughter, but not using inappropriate material or innuendos. Connect so they see you as a professional Magician. So many clients have big and generous hearts. They worry if you are not eating, others will want to give you a drink. If you do your part correctly, they will view you as the most interesting guest of the party. You will be a “guest” but please refrain from eating and drinking.
I did say there was a second ingredient. That is mastery of your craft. You would think this would go without saying. You must know everything you do inside and out. You must still practice, no matter how long you have been performing. It is an obligation to give your clients professionally performed magic. You cannot buy it at a Magic shop. Finally, never adopt a superior attitude. We are not performing organ transplants, or putting rockets into space. If an audience can “smell” an attitude, they will not like you. Now go out and get’em.
Joe Ferranti One of Boston’s Best Close Up Magicians