A few days ago I was performing at the Amsterdam Magic Show.
While I was performing close-up magic at the show I was presented with a very interesting choice. I could choose between being authentic and to be completely myself while I was performing magic for these people, or to keep acting like the performance persona that I build up over the years.
My performance persona is always very happy and energetic and he tries to ensure that everyone has a great time. It used to work very well in the past for me, especially when I had a lot of depression attacks. This persona is how I saw my perfect self and how I thought I should behave in front of people.
But, there was a problem with performing in this way. Everything is fake, the human connection is fake, what you say is unauthentic and fake and on some level, people feel that you are faking it. The magic feels needier and it doesn’t feel like the magic is coming from the soul.
However, even knowing this I found it very scary to show myself, to feel my true feelings and to reveal my real self to my audience. Doing that made me feel very vulnerable and I thought it would take away from the magic. But, to my surprise, I discovered that it actually increased the value and impossibility of the magic drastically.
People were much more involved with the magic, as Shane Cobalt would say “Now people care”.
People started to really care about the magic and they became involved with it on an emotional level, I suppose before we can involve our audience emotionally we have to open up the doors to our own emotions first and be willing to be vulnerable with them. This will be rewarded with their trust to take them with us into the unknown.
While I was performing for a couple and completely allowing my emotions the man said to me “that’s not sleight of hand, that’s real magic”.
Him saying that thought me a valuable lesson, even if it might feel scary or vulnerable to performing magic while showing how I really feel. It is completely worth it, it gives the audience a greater experience and I feel more myself while I’m doing it.
If you get the opportunity try it out and see what happens.