I want to tackle a topic that has interested me for a while now and I’d like to share with you. It’s about the relation of the atmosphere that exists in a place/you create to the street magic revealed. First I’d like to talk about the existing atmospheres in some places.
The most common atmosphere street magicians perform in is during the day in a mall. Surrounded by busy people, bright light and very often quite noisy, this atmosphere is obviously not something that people connect with magic and one of the reasons why street magic is so compelling. On the other hand it causes some challenges a street magician has to overcome, if he wants his performance to be successful. First, there are the aforementioned distractions. Noise, heaps of running people and the things people have on their grocery list make it hard to keep them concentrated.
The next challenge are the tricks themselves. They have to be short and easy to follow, yet elaborate enough to be not understood by the audience on the spot. Luckily today’s street magic arsenal has plenty of tricks available that meet these criteria.
While these challenges have to do with the performance itself, the third challenge goes one step back, actually, and is about to get an audience in the first place. Society has educated us not to speak to strangers, even more so if they are quick with their hands. The personal distance in western countries is about an arms length and makes it hard to approach people and get them interested in what you do.
Now that we have talked about what challenges we face when we go out and have street magic revealed to strangers, what conclusions do we draw? Well, for me it’s like this: I like the nervous twitches before I approach a stranger and I like the concentration and showmanship that is needed to keep people concentrated even more. Over all I would say that these challenges are in fact what makes street magic so interesting and ever changing.