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Derek DelGaudio - Invisible Dialogues

By Art of Magic - Sunday, December 24, 2017


Derek DelGaudio is one of the few fine artists of conjuring - elevating the performance of tricks into the manifestation of Magic.

Though not technically defined as such, “Magic” is colloquially used to express an ethereal, deeply personal feeling (similar to intuition in its inexplicable nature) that encourages appreciation of a moment. You feel “Magic" immediately before, during, and after a first kiss. Or standing alone in a desert, gazing into the vast night sky. These are, quite literally, Magic moments.

But these moments don’t just happen. They need a preface, an escalation of tension that culminates in an explosion of astonishment. The refractory period, the experience of wonder, which follows must be taken seriously - your mind and heart must be given a chance to catch their breath (I will continue to mix these metaphors). Imagine, today, being in the perfect spot to see the full Solar Eclipse. You travelled, researched, positioned yourself, and waited with baited breath. Then the sky darkens, and you see a halo of light where Sol is supposed to be. Awe - marveling in the complexity of the universe. Wonder - flowing through you, your mind standing still, attempting to comprehend the majesty of what you’re experiencing. And as the two celestial bodies part, you sit, basking in bliss, slowly returning to everyday existence.

This experience is universal, and you don’t need an eclipse to understand this Magic moment. They happen throughout life, sometimes in unexpected ways. But the role of a Magician is to produce those moments at his/her will.

If you haven’t seen In & Of Itself, I won’t spoil anything. But you should definitely see it.

Derek understands Magic - during his show, he shares endearing, powerful, personal stories. This is en vogue in contemporary entertainment media, but what sets Derek apart is that these stories are the escalation that provide the context and dramatic tension for the Magic moment. Whereas a comedian gets a laugh by surprising the audience through extreme escalation or a subversion of expectation, Derek produces astonishment and allows wonder. The dramatic tension builds, Derek stops speaking, and real Magic occurs. There’s a moment of astonishment - metaphorical resolution. And then he waits. He doesn’t trample on your experience before he moves on. He allows your heart and mind to catch their breath.

His performance transcends conjuring tricks, elevating him to, in my mind, a real Magician.

And so, in this trailer for his upcoming talk at the 2017 Future of StoryTelling Summit, Derek addresses the public perception of our art. And what our role should be. Listen, and think about your magic.

Favorite quotes:

  • “[People] automatically assume that a magician keeps secrets from people. But a real magician keeps secrets for people.”
  • “There’s these two dialogues running parallel with one another. One that they can see and one that’s implicit. It’s knowing when to reveal that second dialogue that transcends a story.”
  • "Magic doesn't exist in the hands of a magician. It exists in the mind of the audience." “The moment of magic is … when I believed [the knife] was gone. And then [the magician] just validated my belief.”
  • “… in that moment, magic isn’t a trick. Magic is a synonym for hope.”

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