When performing magic I get a wide range of different reactions from all kinds of different people. But after thousands of professional performances over more than fifteen years I’ve started to notice a pattern. I think there are three basic types of reaction that all reactions can be grouped into also, I think each type of reaction may reveal something about that person’s wider personality.
First of all I should say that this is based entirely on my own experience, it has no scientific basis whatsoever and shouldn’t be taken particularly seriously but I’ve found it quite interesting to think about and thought other people might too. I’ve called the three types of reaction I’ve found: just go with it, need to work it out and dismissal.
Just Go With It
This person enjoys the magic by just going along for the ride. They enjoy the surprises, the patter and the magical moments without feeling the need to question how it’s done. It’s magic, they’re enjoying it, that’s all they need to know; in short they are a magician’s dream audience! This person is usually laid back, fun and gets along with everyone. However, they’re probably also more likely to believe in astrology, homeopathy, psychics and fall victim to scams.
Need To Work It Out
This is the person who, when I’ve finished, can’t help but ask, “How did you do that?” even though they know I can’t tell them. During the magic their eyes will never leave my hands and after I’m gone they’ll be straight onto the internet trying to find answers. To be honest this is probably the category I fall into, I got my first magic book because I wanted to know how my dad made a coin disappear and reappear behind my ear! This person enjoys the magic more as a puzzle rather than as a performance and probably enjoys other puzzles too. They are intelligent and analytical so usually finds beauty in simple things by having a deeper knowledge and appreciation of it but may sometimes miss out on fun by being overly analytical.
At the end of my performance this is the person who’ll say, “It’s just sleight of hand isn’t it” (even though that isn’t actually an explanation) or they’ll offer a completely ludicrous explanation just so they don’t have to admit to themselves or others that they don’t know how it’s done. This person probably doesn’t really like magicians as their ego is built on being intelligent and in control and they don’t like anybody else taking control of the group they’re in then doing stuff that he (and it is usually a he) can’t explain. They can be difficult to perform for but they do usually want to be involved as long as they aren’t made to look even close to foolish. It’s a good idea to make them the star of the show or at least give them some of the spotlight and, if they don’t seem too keen on the magic, try to entertain them with patter. This person likes to be in control and will usually seek out positions of power, they are strong-minded and determined. However, they can take themselves too seriously.
Do you think you fit into one of these categories? Do you have the traits I described? If you perform magic can you think of any reactions that don’t fit into these groups? Let me know in the comments. As always please feel free to like and share and remember, Confucius says: “He who goes to bed with itchy bum, wake up with stinky finger!”