Talking Tenyo | Everyday Objects
By Angelo Carbone - Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Magicians should only perform with everyday objects. Really?
This is a statement that has been raised a few times and it’s a good one for debate. So basically, the statement implies that performing with ‘magic props’ is not good or not strong magic. Let’s look at it from both sides.
Using everyday objects or props that the public recognise and associate with (e.g. pens, keys, coins, mobile phones, rings) should mean the magic is more deceptive because people know these objects are not special or gimmicked. The magician will thus have the advantage that the spectator will assume they are normal. Another positive is that you can borrow said objects from the spectator and switch them for a gimmicked version. Again, this makes the magic stronger. Another thing... usually these ‘everyday’ objects are small and pocketable. For the working close-up pro, pocket space is vital. Magic with everyday objects also became popular when all the TV Street Magic specials came out. You would never see a street magician with an unusual magic looking prop in their hands. So yes of course, there are benefits to using objects that anyone can instantly recognise or have on their person.
Now what about those fancy looking props such as Tenyo Magic, brass coin boxes, production boxes, paddle sticks etc? Do they seem more suspicious and special? Perhaps, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I think the area of parlour and stage magic is where one would see more of these unusual boxes and props than in close-up magic. Should stage magicians use everyday props on stage? That might not be possible and if they did you would feel that no effort was put into presentation. So why is using props for stage magic ok but for close-up it’s not? Aren’t magicians expected to use fancy unusual props? Illusionists use weird looking large illusions right? They are certainly not something the audience can associate with. Surely of all the arts and professions out there, magicians are known to use fancy looking props. We grow up knowing this, especially children who have experienced a children’s entertainer at a birthday party. Plenty of colourful and kooky looking props there. Does that mean the magic is not as strong?
When jugglers juggle, they use specially designed juggling balls, clubs, cigar boxes, knives, diablo sticks etc. We expect jugglers to use those props. We don’t expect them to use teapots, tennis balls, bottles etc. We don’t think any less of their skill no matter what object they use for magic. It’s their skill they are showcasing. As long as they entertain and juggle well then that is all that matters. It is the same for magicians. It doesn’t matter what props they use – everyday objects or fancy weird looking props, as long as they entertain and do the magic well then that too is all that matters.
So, there is a place for everyday objects AND unusual props, but we shouldn’t shoo shoo the latter.
Now where did I put my red and gold octagonal double walled production box…
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