The Most Common Types of Magic Performances – Part 2
In addition to stage and stand-up magic, close-up is the other major type of magic performance. Close-up magicians perform for one person or a small group of people. Coins, cards, safety pins, rubber bands and other small objects are favored by the close-up magician as their entire act is usually carried in their pockets. In contrast to stage and stand-up magic that happen at a distance, close-up magic occurs, just as the name implies, very near the spectator. Sometimes the magic happens in the onlooker’s hands. For this reason, close-up magic can be very powerful. Where can I see close-up magic? Close-up magic is commonly seen in the United States in restaurants, bars, casinos and resorts. Sometimes fairs and festivals will hire a close-up magician to stroll through the crowd and provide unexpected entertainment. Magic at wedding receptions is popular in some parts of the world and just catching on in the U.S. Recently, close-up magic has come to the attention of the general public through performances on television. America’s Got Talent, Penn and Teller’s Fool Us and the David Blaine specials have attracted the imagination of large numbers of viewers. Still close-up magicians are rarely seen in person by the majority of Americans. What type of magic is best? The best type of magic to use in a particular situation depends on a number of factors. One limiting factor of close-up magic is the number of people in the audience. Performing for ten people at a time and doing five to seven minutes of magic for each group would allow a one magician to perform for about fifty to sixty individuals in an hour. The same magician could perform for hundreds or even thousands of people in the same hour doing stage or stand-up magic. Some types of magic may not work well in certain venues because of seating arrangements, noise levels and other factors. For example, a close-up magician works well in a restaurant where patrons are eating at different times. In a banquet setting, where the meal is served to everyone at once, a stand-up performer may be a better fit. Other factors include the entertainment budget and the overall needs of the event. The point is that there is a type of magic to fill just about any entertainment need. Contacting a magician is the best way to find out what they can offer. A professional should have the experience to make suggestions as to what might work best for you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
When the topic of magician comes up. Most people think of the someone on a stage cutting a lady in half or pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Some may be reminded of David Copperfield or Penn and Teller and their Las Vegas shows. Although many magicians perform on stage, you are more likely to see a magician at a restaurant, banquet, festival or birthday party. The fact is that stage shows are expensive to produce and except for a few traveling productions, you are unlikely to see one in your home town. That brings us to today’s topic. If stage magic shows are rare, what other types of magic shows are out there? In addition to stage magic, there are stand-up shows and close-up magic. This week I will explore at the topic of stand-up performances and next time I will delve into the world of close-up magic. What is stand-up magic? Stand-up magic was once referred to as parlor magic. As home parlors vanished and comedy clubs appeared, the name changed to reflect the times. We will consider stand-up magic as any magic performance in which the magician performs for a group of more than ten people. Most of the time the audience is seated because stand-up shows may last from twenty minutes to over an hour. Audience size can vary from in the teens to several hundred. What makes it stand-up magic is that the performer does not perform on a formal theatrical stage. However, to be more visible to a larger number of people, he or she may be on an elevated platform, usually without a curtain. This format is similar to comedy clubs where stand-up comics perform, hence the name. Many magicians have had their careers start in these clubs, including Harry Anderson and Michael Finney. Where might I see stand-up magic? Although you still might see a stand-up magician in a comedy club, it is much more likely that you will find one at a mall, fair, festival, banquet, picnic, corporate event, birthday party or some other venue where live entertainment is provided. Many of the shows are outdoors and they offer an entertaining break between vendors and exhibits. Others are the main attraction provided by the host to make the event extra special. Magicians who perform stand-up magic usually present humorous, fun-filled shows that include audience participation. The shows are designed to attract and keep the interest of the crowd. One group of magicians, called street performers or buskers, earn their living by doing just that. They rely on passing the hat. But, in most other situations, the performer is paid by the venue to entertain their patrons. The places for stand-up magic are only limited by your imagination. This kind of magic performance can be a cost-effective solution to a variety of entertainment needs. Next time you see a magician, he or she will most likely be performing stand-up magic.