CHI HAN YEO
Vol 11, Issue 4
Magic as a performance is one that combines psychology, deception, theatre, and the occasional bit of misdirection to create wonder. If that sounds fun to you, I’m hoping to give a little bit more information on how you can get started on your magical journey.
What is magic?
This is a topic of some debate for practitioners, and what it means to magicians is a different kettle of fish to what it might mean to our audiences. I can’t claim to speak for all magicians, but to me it’s about entertaining and creating wonder. My end goal isn’t to fool anybody into thinking that I have special powers, but to make you suspend your disbelief long enough to feel that bit of wonder we get when we witness the impossible. In the same way we don’t really believe that the people in the movies are actually going on the epic journey’s being portrayed, we can still be moved by them.
2. Magic in Melbourne.
Melbourne is a vibrant city for those who love the art. Not only are there a variety of magic clubs that can be found with a quick google search, street magicians, and magic shows are abound. Every July the Melbourne Magic Ffestival gets world class acts from around the globe, and tucked away in the State Library is one of the largest magical archives ever assembled for the public. We’re a magical city, in more ways than one.
3. Of course I can’t get away with writing an article about magic without teaching at least one trick. It’s super easy to do, but please practice it until you’re comfortable before going out to perform it. It’s a quick variation of an illusion from Howard Thurston’s ‘400 Tricks You Can Do’ a book that is now in the public domain (for a much better lesson onteaching of this trick go look it up!).
Set up: You tear 3 strips of paper and crumple them into little balls (this can be done in front of the audience). Put them in front of you on the table, not in a pile, but in 3 distinct balls Hold an identical 4th paper ball prepared beforehand loosely and secretly in your right hand.
Performance: Pick up one of the balls between the fingertips of your right hand (the secret ball still held loosely in your right hand). Look at your left hand as you open it and place the ball from your fingertips. Pick up the second ball in the same way, and as you place it in your left hand look up at your audience. In that same moment secretly put both the second ball and the hidden ball in your left hand, which then closes. No need to rush, act casual. Pick up the third ball (slowly), look at it as you lift it, and pretend to put it into your pocket. Secretly transfer it into that same hidden position. Now say a magic word and open your left hand to reveal that it has 3 pieces of paper. Pour them onto the table and repeat if you like. Don’t do it too many times!
“LORD LOAM: By the way, Brocklehurst, can you do anything?
LORD BROCKLEHURST: How do you mean?
LORD LOAM: Can you do anything—with a penny or a handkerchief, make them disappear, for instance?
LORD BROCKLEHURST: Good heavens, no.
LORD LOAM. It’s a pity. Everyone in our position ought to be able to do something.”
-J.M. Barrie, The Admiral Chricton Play
Chi Han Yeo is a third-year JD student
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