Have you ever looked round to see people disseminating an effect after you have performed it? That moment of astonishment has passed, their senses re-engage almost like a defribulator, rushing to make sense of the world in their adult world.
And so they rush to tell you that they have worked it out. They have missed the point. They have returned as an adult.
I perform a lot of kids magic. A lot. What all experienced and professional children’s entertainers will tell you is for children it is less about the magic but more about the entertainment ride on the way to that magical ending. For them the world is still unfurling before their eyes. For children every day is exciting because every day offers up it’s own new, fresh and exciting new slice of astonishment.
Have you ever seen performed magic whilst a child is sat on a mothers knee. Your amazing card effect or high end piece of magic you have just perfected no longer get the same whallop for the mum as it would do if she were surrounded by her adult friends. Instead you will get a “Wooooowww! And look back at her child’ She is of course watching this magic through her child’s eyes and consciously or not, want to feel what that child is feeling – that state of astonishment or wonder which we all love to have. Why do we travel to new countries (other than to relax)? Of course, to see something new, to continue our own human evolution. Things that will stop us in our tracks and again take us back to that infantile state of astonishment. Why do we eat new foods or try different combinations of food? Why do we pay for meals (sight unseen) 5 times what we would pay if we made it at home or ate in a cheaper restaurant? We want to be amazed. We want to evolve. We want to experience something new and incredible…….
Back to the mum with the child on her knees. No mother ever says to their child, run along and play, this man has some serious skills and abilities – I want to experience this for myself. She desperately wants to relive that experience as a child or feel how it feels to be a/her child. She cannot lie in the pram as the child is pushed around each day soaking up so much information and ideas. This is a real treat to be in the same place at the same time as her child seeing something new (and which she knows) will too some degree will be something new, exciting and if the magician is any good wondrous.
This serialisation of a longer passage offers a few insights into magic, astonishment and the goal which professional magicians, mentalists and entertainers should be striving for. Next post – Part 8 gets a bit more interactive – with something you can do at home as I explore the art of astonishment even more.