It is all about texture and dynamics…
In this post I want to discuss something a little more abstract, which is seldom discussed in magical literature,‘Texture and dynamics.’ They are to my mind two of the most powerful (and underused) tools at an entertainer’s disposal. They are the subtle and hardest to describe way to improve any magic act.
While they can’t make a bad act, these two elements can definitely make a good act better and a great act brilliant. You can’t buy them in a magic shop and you can only add them to your performance with careful thought and visualization. Let’s look at the definitions from the dictionary in my trusty MacBook Pro.
The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance: skin texture and tone | the cheese is firm in texture | the different colors and textures of bark.
- the character or appearance of a textile fabric as determined by the arrangement and thickness of its threads: a dark shirt of rough texture.
- Art— the tactile quality of the surface of a work of art.
- the quality created by the combination of the different elements in a work of music or literature: a closely knit symphonic texture.
1 the forces or properties that stimulate growth, development, or change within a system or process: the dynamics of changing social relations.
2 Music, the varying levels of volume of sound in different parts of a musical performance.
These are very ‘dictionary’ definitions but they deserve to be studied rather carefully and then re-applied to the field of effectively presenting magic. If you wanted to define them in the contemporary vernacular you might be tempted to redefine it as ‘Mix it up a bit!’
Sometimes I watch a magic act and I am deeply impressed by the seamless way that it blends into one unit. This is particularly the case with an 8-minute manipulative act, with 8 minutes the need for unity and consistence of tone can create a very strong effect.
When a show gets longer or involves definitely separate tricks linked together then it becomes more problematic. It is necessary to change to pacing, approach and nature of the sequence of tricks you are presenting, i.e. texture and dynamics. This is how you hold and build the attention of your audience.
Here are some key points to think about as you mentally dissect your show,
Have I varied the length of the tricks in my show? Do they all run about the same length of time or have I mixed shorter tricks and longer tricks together in order to maximize the focal point of my audience’s attention?
Have I interspersed enough humor (even in a serious show) to maintain the interest of observers who might be a little less sold on the “I am the Great Thoughtini, and I can read your mind!’ approach than you are.
Have I allowed the structure of my show to move from concentrated attention on something small to something big, in order to allow the element of focus and size affect an influence on the interest of my audience.
I could add greatly to this list if I had more space, however, I suspect that it will do more good to think about these gentle hints and apply them in an existential manner to your specific show. If it all sounds a little (to use that glorious Aussie/Kiwi term) ‘Artsy Fartsy”, then just go back to my secondary definition and theory—-‘Mix it Up!’
…….or as the great Bob Marley said, “Stir it up, little baby, stir it up….”