Magic Tricks Gone Wrong Chapter 2
Updated: Jan 13, 2022
Have you ever messed up a trick in a magic show?
Let me set the stage for one of my all-time favorite on-stage failures...
Here I am, about to compete in my first international magic competition. I'm 14 years old, about to take the magic world by storm. Frankly, I'm not sure if they're even ready for this kind of awesome!
I'm performing a manipulation act, which basically means I hide a ton of stuff in my jacket, and then produce it for the audience in a magical way.
I open with a flash of fire turning into a billiard ball... what better way to capture the judges' attention?! Like Katniss Everdeen, they won't be able to forget me after that. I have an idea...it's a brilliant idea. I'll swap out the small square of 'flash paper' with a full 8 X 10 sheet. I read it in a book somewhere. Did I *practice* with the full sheet? No way! Do you have any idea how expensive that stuff is?!
I walk onstage, and look out at the semi-conscious audience. There were almost entirely white males, with an average age of senile. There's also my mom in the back of the audience, and she's more nervous than I am. My music starts I step forward and light the flash paper. A flame EXPLODES from my hands and singes my eyebrows. The smell of burnt hair starts to waft off the stage.
The billiard ball bounces off the stage, so I instinctively reach for it. The act of bending over pulls my jacket in a weird direction...CLANG! The coins that I was going to produce fall to the floor. As I reach for those, the cards pinned in my sleeve come falling out, and finally three crystal balls (my grand finale) come falling out of hidden pockets attached to my pants.
My 3 and a half minute act was sitting on the floor in the first 10 seconds. As an adult, I realize that the only thing to do, is pick up my props and slink of stage hoping that nobody got a good look at my face. At the time I didn't realize that was an option. My music was still going, after all -- clearly I was expected to as well. So I reload my pockets in front of everyone, and continue with my act.
Nobody made eye contact with me as I walked off stage, a kindness which I will be forever grateful for.