One of the main joys of performing to children is their unpredictable original nature. Children are still relatively socially un-calibrated and as a result their unpredictable actions can strike at any point. If, like me, you perform 4 or 5 shows per weekend, (with the exception of alternating shows, tricks and effects) this unpredictability is what keeps the show fresh.
However, as I have mentioned in my earlier post, some magicians could think of nothing worse than performing to children – because they are happily currently living in a world confined to very safe boundaries. Boundaries which involve a deck of cards which have been thumbed a thousand times over, a patter which has been blurted out a thousand time over and the same magic trick performed in the same way a thousand times over.
For me, this is no longer real magic but a contrived piece of theatre, and to be honest it makes me feel awkward, that’s why I get excited about kids’ magic. That’s also why I get excited about mentalism.. I have no patter, or script for my mentalism routines (or if I do they are very loose) and even though there is a heavy underpinning of magic there are more variables for things to go wrong. But equally so, by taking the larger risks, come the larger rewards in the form of gasps or shrieks of delight. In fact some of my strongest pieces of magic are mentalism pieces.
So what’s this got to do with children’s entertainment?
If you are prepared to surrender your patter and go ‘off-piste’ whilst the little ones try and engage you in chatter whilst performing for devil hank or uttering some cheeky comment at the prestige of your trick and then you are able to roll with and turn this to your advantage – you will be perceived as an engaging entertainer with a soul and the children will feel greater warmth to you too.
Let’s study the difference between theatre and comedy for one second. In a theatre, the performers and audience are without doubt separate. They perform, you watch. At best, you clap. But for a comedian, the performance is a lot more engaging. Here, the social boundaries are lowered and the performer may pick on quirks or nuances of audience members. In turn they are at liberty to heckle, clap, cheer, boo, or even wolf whistle. Whichever form of reaction the performer has stoked out of them, this is a reaction. A reaction, be it a laugh, clap or some other emotional response is a reaction to the show and a closer bond and engagement with the performer.
Some of the funniest comedians, and most entertaining moments come from when the comedian deviates from his or her scripted routines. Give the audience member the opportunity to be the ‘star’. (In fact, this should always be the case. At least it is in my shows). The fun, the comedy, the laughter and the interaction, even if it is directed at the helper / spectator, will still contribute 100% to you delivering a ‘fun’ show!!
One of the key secrets of a children’s entertainer is to be able to roll with the punches or else they will metaphorically hurt as they land their blows. What do I mean by that? Well, if you get pulled off script, or out of character, for some adults, these once again brings them out of their comfort zone and may default to shouting back or getting angry.
No, no, no.
I have heard it many times where parents have booked a kids’ entertainer who have got angry at the boisterous children. They may have a fantastic act. They may have all the gags in the world, but there is no excuse for anger / berating / rage. Parties are meant to be fun. As an entertainer, you, we, us are there to entertain and leave with a room full of smiling faces begging for more.
Being a children’s entertainer is a passion, an art and a craft. It’s my art, my craft, and without doubt my passion. For more information, please give me a call on 07934 856 696 or like me on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kidspartymagician for more information.