September 3rd, 2020
audience, magic, mentalism, performance, theory
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Jonah was invited to the Preconceived Podcast to talk about magic and understanding the craft and business of magic. This episode is a selection of that conversation that Jonah had with Preconceived host Zale Mednick. Check out the Preconceived Podcast for the complete interview. It’s a fun conversation with a magic layperson and a rare chance to hear Jonah talk about the introductory philosophies of magic in the magic communities.
Magic Is Closer To Cooking Than Comedy
In stand up comedy no two acts are the same. But in magic you can go and purchase a trick at your local magic shop and you will end up performing a trick that others have seen before. Instead consider that you’re cooking chicken soup. Lots of restaurants make chicken soup but you’re the only chef who makes your chicken soup. Just because your trick is the same as another performer doesn’t mean it can’t be unique.
Is It Cheating? Or Is It Magic?
It’s very hard to say that you only perform a magic trick a certain way before it becomes cheating. Sure there are some practices that are frowned upon, like planting stooges in the audience, but at the end of the day the most important takeaway for your audience is that for one moment they couldn’t look up the answer and they were confronted by something they couldn’t explain. It doesn’t matter how the magician has created that environment, and yes the method might involve being a cheater, but where do you draw the line? If your audience knows it’s not true but feels like it’s true then you’re doing something right.
It’s Important To Know It’s An Illusion
That said, some magicians do believe it’s important, especially in the hard to believe it’s true but it feels like it’s true styles of mentalism, to offer a disclaimer at the start of their show that what you are about to see isn’t real even if it feels like it is. Having someone like a lawyer actually believe that it’s possible to read someone’s mind could become really problematic and even when you’re creating a space for someone to experience the rug of reality being ripped out from under them in a safe and controlled environment it may also be important to remind the audience that nothing you do is, in fact, reality.