Chapter 07: Character and Presentation Style

When searching for a character, have your team members first write down all the characteristics they see in you. It is important to get this third-party evaluation to find a character that fits you. For example, if your team does not think you are funny, you should probably not try to do comedy.

When watching different magic performers, you may have noticed that Siegfried & Roy had a different presentation style than, for example, Kohl & Company.

You need to decide whether: • You create the effect or the effect surprises you • You create the magic or the effect creates the magic • You display energy or act helpless

Topas once defined three basic presentation styles in magic:

  1. The Magician as the Killer The performer actively performs the magic, like Jeff McBride.
  2. The Magician as the Victim The magic happens without the influence of the performer.
  3. The Magician as the Witness The performer actively performs the magic, but the magician just witnesses the effect. Lance Burton uses this approach to presentation.

When looking for a character that fits your personality, you may consider the characterizations in movies and plays. Or you may discover your character in different occupations in everyday life.

Some examples are:

  • Doctor
  • Baby
  • Mailman
  • Cowboy
  • Hairdresser
  • Santa Claus
  • Painter
  • Cook
  • Snowman
  • Mummy
  • Teacher
  • Scuba diver
  • Barkeeper
  • Trampoline Athlete
  • Animal (Kangaroo, Bear, ...)

After selecting a character, you need to learn everything about the character, just like an actor has to do. Only when you know everything about a character can you start developing your act. Can you imagine doing an “Olympic Magic Act” on a trampoline? What about being a scuba diver doing a manipulation act underwater? Could you be a firefighter that does an escape from a burning aquarium? If you want to work for children, why not be a “Magical Kangaroo”? Finally, you and your character need to believe in magic.

Only if you believe in the magic you do will your magic look and feel real. You need to set your mind to believing in yourself and in your act. If you don’t believe that “it is you” that lets something stay afloat in the air, people will read from your body that it is “just a trick”. When people can see the “acting”, it is bad acting. It is just like a bad movie with some bad actors. You don’t like these either...