Magician, mentalist or…?

by Ariel Frailich

Now that I know who I am (see “Be yourself”), I can work on what I am. If I just perform my standard tricks — ‘Three Card Monte,’ ‘Out of This World,’ an Ace Assembly — the audience sees a gambling expert, then a mentalist, then a magician. Since there’s no focus, I’ll just be another “guy who does tricks”. But if I consistently follow a single, well-defined path, every trick will reinforce the illusion I’m trying to create, and the audience is more likely to remember me.

My list of interests (see “Be yourself”) may well provide me with a direction: interest in the occult suggests Bizarre magic, collecting stamps suggests “straight” magic, and so on. However, there may not be anything that specific to build from, and even if there is, it doesn’t mean I have to pursue it.

Looking at the tricks I do, it strikes me that I can present myself as a gambling expert. While ‘Three Card Monte’ and the Ace Assembly have gambling themes built in, ‘Out of This World’ doesn’t, but perhaps I can find a presentation related to gambling. For instance, Martin Nash, a well-known gambling expert, uses it to show that he can influence the way people deal cards, which fits perfectly.

I can also present myself as a “straight” magician. I can make ‘Out of This World’ into a magic feat simply by saying — or implying — that the separation happens by magic, but ‘Three Card Monte’ doesn’t adapt so easily. One way is to give it a magical ending, perhaps by making the three cards turn into Jokers at the end. I can then demonstrate how I outwitted the con artist with magic. In any case, I’ll have to modify the trick, perhaps even replace it with a different version.

Or I could be an expert on the powers of the mind. ‘Out of This World’ is a natural, of course, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to make ‘Three Card Monte’ into a demonstration of psychological control. But the Ace Assembly… unless I can find a satisfactory way to make it fit, I’m afraid I’ll have to drop it from my repertoire.

In the end, I can be anything I want to be. I can be a sorcerer from ancient times, or a time traveller from the future. I can be a Bizarrist or a comedy magician. An expert or a bumbler. As long as it fits who I am — and as long as I remain consistent.

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