I have written about various elements of the successful performance and demonstration of magic already. We have already discussed Theme and Structure. Today I want to touch briefly on character.
Character is who you are when you perform.
Your character is fundamentally associated with theme; who you are and what you do simply have to ‘match’. It would be hard to take a mentalist serious about the untapped potential of the human mind if he performed dressed like Mac King, and cracked sh***y jokes every 2 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mac King, his character is perfect for what he does. If he decided to start doing bizarre magic, that character simply wouldn’t work. Could you imagine?
It can be difficult for us to determine our character. Are you naturally funny? Are you naturally imposing? Who do people see when you perform? Lee Asher gave me a great analogy; it is like you are inside a pickle jar looking out. You can see everything out there, except your own label.
I see a lot of young guys out there trying to perform all sorts of mentalism and PK, and it simply doesn’t work. Sorry, but if you are 15, it is going to be a hard sell to convince audiences that you have complete and utter control of your mind, and are able to use that control to demonstrate a variety of psychic phenomena.
Anyone older than 15 knows that at 15, you are a bag of hormones, and can barely control your baser urges, let alone the mind of someone twice your age.
Your character, and what you do must fit who you are. An atheist would have a difficult time performing gospel magic; a naturally goofy person will have a difficult time performing bizarre magic. We may idolize other performers, but it doesn’t mean we can be them. I love David Copperfield, but I know that style of magic simply does not fit me as a person, or a performer. Same thing goes for Lance Burton. Love watching him, but would never even attempt to perform that style of magic. It isn’t me, no matter how much I may want it to be.
The easiest way to begin to understand who you really are as a performer is to watch yourself perform. Video yourself performing as often as you can, and watch the footage carefully, but disassociated. Watch yourself as if you were an audience member watching a stranger. It takes a bit of practice, but you will get it. As you do this, you will begin to become aware of your personality as a performer from a 3rd person perspective, outside of yourself. Once you are aware, you can begin to see what kind of stuff ‘that guy’ should be doing.
What is your character? Is it believable? Is it really representative of you?
Discuss in the comment section, but be kind to each other.