If your stage volunteer goes bug-eyed reacting to your magic, it’s almost certain that feeling will transfer over to the audience in their seats. The audience will be either amazed with the volunteer or entertained by the volunteer. Either outcome is good.
Years back I did an egg bag routine for kids where the final load in the egg bag was a jumbo coin. One time I had the bag closer than usual to the kid’s face and when I took out the jumbo coin it was only about two inches from his face. His reaction was over the top. This resulted in a fantastic audience reaction.
Afterwards I wondered if, for lack of a less genteel way to put it, shoving the jumbo coin towards the kid’s face caused the kid’s reaction.
So I did the same thing the next show, but this time in a more thought out manner. I held the bag in front of the kid at his chest level. I removed the jumbo coin and brought it about three inches from the boy’s face as I loudly said, “WHOA!!! THAT’S HUGE!!” Then I immediately lowered the coin so the audience could see his expression. Boom. Same audience reaction.
The kid’s reaction was amped by the “It’s 3-D” movement of the jumbo coin.
To the audience, the 3-D movement went unnoticed and the kid’s reaction was what generated their response.
Of course, this isn’t the only technique to covertly increase an onstage volunteer’s reactions. There are verbal cues and other audience management techniques. And this specific technique, at least as described here, seem best suited for a younger volunteer.
I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg, but ask yourself – as I have asked myself – “What can I do to better the audience reactions within the specific situations of my show? What little cheats, prompts, or cues can I incorporate?”