Now, for anybody reading this blog, if you are unfamiliar with Shawn Farquhar, he has more international magic awards, not to mention multiple awards from Canada, than most in this business. I could recap them, but seriously, just read the Wikipedia article on him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Farquhar or look at his site at http://magichampion.com. I don’t need to repeat the credits and discuss what’s already been written.
I could tell you how stellar his act is and do a play by play of what he did, but when a magician is in his class, you know it’s going to be a hell of a show, unless things are really off, which was not the case by far. He is bloody well phenomenal.
So what am I going to review, then? Well, it goes back to what this blog is in regards to: How his performance affects me and where I’m going.
Do I hope to someday win some awards? Hell, yes. I enjoy competing, and doing magic makes that no different. Really, though, it’s his personality on and off stage.
I’ve been reading a book by a busking magician, “To Lure with Spectacle” by Jimmy Talksalot. He references something said by Jim Cellini about when you perform, you have to play with the audience. In addition to the amazing skill that Shawn shows in his show, he is always playing with the audience. He was cheerful and inviting before the show and continued that same personality throughout the show and afterwards as people came up to talk.
Yeah, there was quite a bit of comedy to his act, but I never got the sense that any of the smiling and joking around were purely an act for our benefit. Yeah, he is a consummate performer, but when he performed his final routine for the night, “Shape of My Heart,” which was highly technical and is one of the pieces he has won awards for, as I watched the close-up on the projection screen, I also glanced up from time to time to catch the look on his face. It was the look of a man who, even though he is doing some seriously technical work, he’s still a kid at play.
Now, he’s still just another guy, and he’s doing what is his career, so he’s got all the hardship and ugly bits of life that go with that. For all I know, when he goes home, he could go back to absolute toil and turmoil. I don’t know because we all have lives behind closed doors, for better or for worse.
As a magician and performer, though, for all there is of that real life, you see an adult kid at play with a room full of new friends.
When I go out and perform, that’s where I want to be. If I’m busking for a few people or for a large crowd, I want to be able to make that moment happen. I’m already feeling it quite a bit when I perform, but I still have enough nervous energy running that it’s not always as evident on either side of the “stage.”
It might sound sentimental or cliché, but when you play like that and that joy is infectious, for all the sleight of hand and skill, that joy is where the magic is.
Yeah, I want a little of what he’s got, and I will get there.