Oh, the joys of interrupting conversations, annoying waiters, and irritating couples that are busy arguing...
How to Be AMAZING Up-Close...
In the world of entertaining, it's not all stage work. Sometimes I get to entertain small groups of people in what is known as strolling entertainment. This is quite different from the typical "parlor" or "stage" style presentation I typically do. So, when I get a chance to, I dust off my close-up magic and enjoy the challenge that is entertaining during dinner! Being on stage with an audience that knows there will be entertainment is one aspect of being a magician/mentalist. Approaching a table of people that are out dining and may or may not care to be entertained at the moment is quite another.
I've had the chance to do some table-side magic over the last twenty-five years, but it has been nearly five years since I have actually entertained at an event during dinner.
Now there are several reasons I am no fan of trying to entertain people while dinner is going on, but chief among them is the fact that it is impossible to answer questions, ask questions, and laugh while you are talking to your neighbors while eating! This is one of the most challenging parts of close-up entertainment.
The good news is, with some social intelligence on your part you will learn to "feel out" the tables that are open minded to having entertainment and the right time to approach. The best part about performing close-up is breaking out routines that I would normally never do on stage. Coins, shoelaces, books, and cards (or blocks of ice-see video of me performing magic in Omaha below) are the domain of the close-up magician and with practice and patience you can get the crowd to have a shared experience they will always remember!
It's moments like these that makes being a professional speaker/magician/mentalist such a fun and rewarding career.
Do you have any experience with entertaining people up-close – or being entertained? Share your stories in the comments below.