The magician is the same. The audiences are different.

As I mingled through the Holiday party of around 500 guests I was flagged down by table after table wanting to witness some magic. Many of the groups were guys with beers hoping to catch me in the act, or at least learn a tidbit of sleight-of-hand that they could try. I spend most of the evening demonstrating card cheating techniques (with a twist of magic) and discussing cheating at the card table. Guys like knowledge. I didn’t teach anything, nor did I get caught, but they enjoyed the topic.

Later into the evening a group of thirty-something ladies subtly motioned me over to their table. I casually put away my deck  as I greeted them. They’d been drinking wine and enjoying the live music talking the night away. The four of them in their appropriate “little black dresses” for the evening, flirted with me and asked if I would show them some magic.

One of them noticed that I’d put away my cards. She politely explained that they wanted to see some magic. I politely replied that I was about to do something unique with them.

I handed her a slip of paper and a pen. Noticing her wedding ring and her approximate age, “Do you have any children?” I asked.

“Yes.” she said as a flurry of glances flashed between the four women.

“Good. Don’t say anything more, but I’d like you to write the name of one of your kids on the paper.” I turned my head away, so as not to look and asked her to add the birthday also. After I had her show her friends what she’d written, I told her to tear up the paper and hold all the pieces in her hand so I couldn’t see any of it.  

“Obviously your kids are important to you and you love them very much. I’d like you to picture yourself standing at your back door calling your son in for dinner.” As this picture forms in her mind’s eye, her friends watched very intently for signs of leaking information. “Benjamin.” I stated. “But you call him Benny. He was playing under the big tree with his yellow tractor...”

As I finished, there were no gasps or laughter, rather a soft touch on my hand and a very small tear in the corner of her eye. The other ladies stared at me wide eyed. They didn’t really know what had just happened, but they knew that it was different from anything they were expecting when they flagged me down.  It wasn’t gambling techniques. It was personal, intimate and beautiful.

Magician’s TakeAway ::

This story is about the audience and understanding what intrigues different people. It’s vital to have a variety of magic available as you work through an evening. Some people crave raw entertainment value. They love the laughs and surprises that come with most close-up magic. The ladies in this story didn’t want that. They wanted something deeper. They never said that, but you could sense it in them. So I put away the cards, didn’t tell any jokes.

Women desire to be understood. They wish that men would just get them. They wish someone could read their mind so they wouldn’t have to spew forth words. Guys dig cool knowledge. They like to have the upper hand. As a magician, we are called to know all kinds of cool stuff, and more importantly, how to use it. How do we choose the material we present to the various audiences we encounter? That is an important topic to consider as you prep for your gigs.