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A discussion about the use of story in magic, on the wonderful Full Circle Magic group on Facebook, inspired me to post the foreword I wrote for Punx’s book, Once upon a time….
The world of magic today is more cerebral than emotional. We pride ourselves on our cleverness, we strive to fool our audiences—unless we choose to fry them (which sounds nasty)—and we invent tricks that kill (which sounds even nastier). We aim to astonish, amaze and puzzle. Are such words truly the only ones that define our art? Are these the only tools we magicians have at our disposal to entertain? It seems to me that we can also enchant, delight, enthrall, enrapture, fascinate, captivate and charm our audiences.
The German magician Punx did precisely that. For decades, Punx enchanted and delighted his audiences—as well as astonished, amazed and puzzled them.
Punx created a new genre: theatrical magic. His performances were highly acclaimed by theatrical critics and he has been equally compared to Mozart and to Hofzinser. He influenced a whole generation of German magicians, including Siegfried and Roy, who quoted his famous line, “Don’t call us just magicians or conjurers—storytellers would be just right”, in their souvenir program.
A few years ago, I came across a book called Magical Adventures and Fairy Tales, the English version of a Punx book. I fell under the master’s spell and it quickly became the most prized book in my magic library. More importantly, it was a book that I felt every magician ought to have read. That, however, wasn’t possible; only 500 copies were printed and those who owned one, understandably, wouldn’t part with it.
[Details about re-publishing the book omitted here.]
I hope that you, dear reader, will get as much sheer joy out of this book as I have when I first encountered it. Now please turn the page and get ready to be enchanted, delighted, enthralled, enraptured, fascinated, captivated and charmed!Ariel Frailich