We live in a digital world, and the rise of online video and social media has had a massive influence on magic. That influence might be good or bad, depending on who you ask. So CBC News of Canada spoke with four different magic acts about how they see the digital shifts changing magic, and how they continue to wow today’s audiences.
Each of the performers acknowledged that digital developments have changed how they approach their craft. But you won’t find any wailing or gnashing of teeth about how YouTube is killing the art form, or unquestioning adoration of the newest modernizations for tricks.
Illusionist Darcy Oake sees the digital world as a challenge to stay sharp. “It helps to push the art form forward, totally, because you can’t become complacent knowing that someone’s going to watch this 50 times,” he said.
Colin Cloud, a mentalist currently performing with The Illusionists tour, opined that fancy tech toys are no substitute for good old-fashioned practice: “The truth is, the way that my ‘magic’ works is it’s all really based in knowledge and practice, and anyone could do what I do if they’ve dedicated the time that I have.”
Toronto locals David Ben and The Sentimentalists had also shared views about tapping into the timelessness of magic performances. Check out all of their thoughts on CBC News.
Magicians may never reveal their secrets, but they do sometimes disclose little nuggets of their philosophy. Darcy Oake, an illusionist who made a splash appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, shared a few insights and opinions about his work in an interview with the Saturday Star. The newspaper asked him about using live birds and how magic impacts his love life, but Oake’s most striking advice came in how he approaches failure.
“I always say a trick never fails, it only gets longer!” he said. “Usually if something is going to go wrong, the magician knows long before the audience and can make changes to cover up. The great thing about magic is we have the element of surprise on our side.”
He’s not wrong; turning a slip-up into a success is usually a hallmark of the best performers. Good food for thought.