Talking with a friend who wants to create a circus type show, he made a very interesting observation. The current dominant force in circus is Cirque du Soleil, the French-Canadian troupe.

My friend observed that, as amazing as Cirque’s performances are, they have taken the humanity out of circus. The costumes, make-up and abilities of the shows have been pushed so far, that it seem the performers are not human anymore, but something else. This is not a bash on Cirque du Soleil, simply a keen understanding of performance art.

As a magician, it’s my job to be … magical. I know that sounds a tad cheesy, but it’s the absolute truth. I’m hired to be a highlight of an event; to infuse a burst of laughter, wonder and awe into an party. I am supposed to be able to do things that are truly impossible. I know the thoughts of the people around me. I delight the guests with deft sleight-of-hand, but also chat with them.

Being human is part of being an artist. Artists are supposed to discuss their unique observations and insights regarding the world around them.

In many cases, I am the first real, professional, magician that people meet. I take that very seriously. Whether I’m performing on-stage or in a close-up setting, I want the audience to feel comfortable with me. I want them to remember me, not simply for the magic, but for being magical.

One of the reasons we love Batman as a character is because he is ‘just a guy with cool toys.’ Yes, He saves the day, but he is also quite conflicted internally. He has doubts. He get’s injured (and doesn’t simply regenerate). He is human. He is also Batman, the Dark Knight. He is a legend.

It is possible to be both legend and human. Magic is the stuff of dreams. The Magician is the man (or woman) who creates it. For the magic to be effective, he needs to understand and relate to humanity.

Magician’s Take Away:
Be Human. There is NO room for big egos in magic. That is all. Check the arrogance at the door if you want to be effective.