There are some Christians and some churches that want nothing to do with magic, we’re talking the David Copperfield, Criss Angel, David Blaine kind not the black magic kind. I am a Christian who performs magic, so I sometimes find myself caught up in this debate.
Bobby Warren performing a Torn and Restored Newspaper effect at Wooster Jam 2013. Photo by Dick Beery / 3 Oaks Enhancements.
I do not have a problem with it, because I am performing entertainment. When we go to the movies, we are actually watching a series of still photographs shown in rapid succession that gives the appearance of movement. It is magic. Any way, …
This past week provided ample opportunity to perform magic. I had four performances over a three-day span with three of them coming on the same day.
The first show was for an event for the Northeast Ohio Division of the Salvation Army, and it was in Ashland on Thursday. The other three performances were Saturday: Two were in conjunction with the Wooster Jam and the final one as a private show.
Needless to say, I was kept busy … very busy.
Each show provided interesting opportunities.
- The Salvation Army show allowed me the opportunity to weave a Christian message into the effects I was performing.
- The Wooster Jam performances were done to music, and they allowed me to create a sense of awe and wonder without saying a word.
- The private show was for a group of girls ages 8–16, and a few adults, so I had to put together a show that would connect for young kids, teenagers and adults.
Each show, also had its challenges, but the goal was always to provide the best show I am capable of performing for each different situation and each different audience. In other words, I had to set aside my interests and focus on the interests of my clients.
When I perform, I do not always perform my favorite effects, and I don’t always perform my most stunning and amazing effects. Why? Because my audiences dictate my shows. If I were to perform my favorite effects, it would be a combination of rope magic and mindreading.
- In creating the Salvation Army show, the challenge was to find effects that would provide a variety of different things, yet, I could still share a Christian message with it.
- The Wooster Jam performances required me to put together effects that would be visually stunning and stand on their own. This required me to perform classics of magic, like the Linking Rings, something I have performed, but do not perform regularly.
- The challenge of the private show was to find effects that little kids and adults would enjoy. I performed everything from a coloring book trick to a mindreading trick at the end.
So, what do magic and Christianity have in common? Well, it is all about serving others.
Leland Pennington, my magic mentor, taught me a long time ago that when performing shows, the goal is not to design a show that will fool other magicians or create a series of effects in which they would approve. No, you perform effects the audience likes. Your shows are about your audiences, not you.
Leland is an amazing magician who has studied so many areas of magic. So much so, that he is perhaps best known for his silk magic and metal bending, perhaps two aspects of magic people would not normally link together.
What Leland and I do might not suit other magicians, but that is OK, because it suits our audiences. (Do I need to mention we both get repeat bookings?)