We want very much for the world to be a place of joy, without problems, fears, or sadness. But, the fact is that the world is a dark, scary, ugly place a lot of the time. Everyone has their concerns, fears, problems, and worries. But sometimes, they just want to escape from it for a moment and be entertained. That’s where we come in. We, (especially magical performers), have a unique ability to momentarily make the world seem a little lighter and happier. We can cause the momentary suspension of disbelief and the direct joy of a surprising outcome.
However, when the performer is of themselves part of the world and has their own set of fears, worries, or problems; it can be a challenge to muster up the courage to stand before an audience and tell them that magic really is possible. In these times, it is best for the performer to remember that they are to conduit between the concrete world and the world of fantasy. You might have to rekindle your magical spirit. It is perfectly okay when this happens. Depression, anger, and stress can get to even the most pleasant and even keeled personality.
The best thing to do is to have a regular routine of decompression. Take time, especially before a show, to breathe, stretch, relax, and focus on your intended audience. This is really important if you have had a stressful week at the day job and have to go perform for an elementary school program or the like. Taking your stress with you through the stage door, will cause your performance to be less than perfect.
Kreskin recommends a full stretching and breathing routine in his various books. I have found a basic 15 minute regimen of stretching, rhythmic breathing, and listening to some relaxing music; to be a good way to decompress after a hard work day. I do the same thing right before a show. If you are the religious type, throw in a quiet prayer for calm. This sets the mind up for a cool, collected experience.
We know the world isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but the more we can assist our audiences in pretending that rainbows and unicorns are all that exist for the hour or so we are in front of them; the more we kindle the spirit of magic. And in a world that we know is the way it is; is there any more important gift we possess?