My ex was a magician. At least that is what the majority of people would label him. He identified himself as an illusionist. December was the peak month for his hobby/business bookings. This is when he performed as the entertainment for company holiday parties. Some December weekends he would put on  shows for several different companies.

Stage magicians like Steve study the art of illusion and get it down to a science. His spare time was often spent rehearsing and perfecting new illusions. To have a smooth, successful performance takes many hours of practice each week.

He liked to say that an illusion is half technique and half presentation. Not only did Steve have his technique down pat, he had good stage presence. There was his wry smile and the twinkle in his eyes that won his audiences over before he even started his first illusion. I think his entrances were actually his opening gambits.

During his off stage time, he liked to study video footage of the big-name magicians like David Copperfield and James Randi. This was done to analyze their presentations and personalities more than their specific acts.

Except for people who try to figure out how an illusion is performed, audiences attend magic shows in order to be fooled. In much the same manner that we watch a film, we overlook the fact that the movie is just flickering light on a screen. We get drawn into the illusion that there are real beings playing out the drama.

A successful performer creates a false or deceptive impression of reality that borders on delusion. People really want to believe that live rabbits can be conjured out of top hats or that ladies can be sliced in half and reassembled. Illusions are our great escapes from cold, hard reality.

Steve liked to remind me that we all harbor our own, personal illusions in the form of mental perceptions, beliefs, and delusions. Everybody has a past time of fooling themselves, so the magician or illusionist simply taps into this human feature. A good illusionist keeps this knowledge in mind when crafting a new illusion for show.

During rehearsals, Steve sometimes reminded me that he is only helping me to fool myself. In much the same manner that a graphic artist creates an optical illusion in two dimensions, the magician creates an optical illusion in three dimensions.

Our perceptions are not always true to reality because our beliefs and prior experiences color how we interpret events. This is why performers, whether they’re magicians, or comedians, like to get an idea about the type of people who are in the audience and their moods. This is the reason that Steve didn’t limit his observations of famous people to only illusionists.

Steve liked to discuss the artistry of illusion that stage and screen actors have, the persuasiveness of illusion that politicians exercise and that theologians use to sway people. With public figures, what we see is rarely who they actually are.

What it all boils down to is that we all live inside our own fantasies and illusions.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes David Copperfield. “What I’ve tried to do in my stage magic is to take a trick and give it an emotional hook.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in art, cultural highlights, Entertainment, Meanderings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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