Scenario: You’re performing your show at an after dinner event or holiday banquet. You were told it was an adult only function.
And that’s the show you’ve prepared.
Those are the props you’ve packed.
And you look over to your left and there’s a nine year old boy sitting at one of the front row tables.
Often it’s the child or grandchild of someone higher up in the food chain in the organization. You have a few options here, that live on the spectrum of do your show and act like the kid is not there to bring up the kid and shoehorn him into a routine that’s not designed for a kid to participate.
Here’s a third option: always have the props for a brief routine in your case that will involve a kid’s participation. Pack a gift, too. Now you’re always ready.
So let’s look at the scenario again in more detail.
An hour before the show Julie from human resources introduces you to the company owner, John Smith. John introduces you to John, Jr., his nine year old son. Both Johns tell you how they love to watch the show Fool Us. Junior loves magic so Dad brought him along.
You ask Junior, “Would you like to help me in the show?”
Junior grins widely, “Yes!”
Now after the halfway part of your show, you look out at the audience and say, “Now I noticed we have young person in the audience. Please tell everyone your name, son.”
“Would you help me with the next magic trick?”
“Then come on up, son. Let’s give him a big round of applause.”
Do the routine, and make John Jr. look like the star of the show. At the end thank him, tell him he’s the star of the show, then reach in your prop case for the Svengali deck you have and gift it to him.
Now let’s look at what this does:
John Sr. loves you.
John Jr. loves you.
Junior repeatedly tells Senior how great you are for weeks after the event.
Julie from HR loves you because her boss loves you.
The audience loves you because you looked like such a mensch with the kid.
Even though the audience isn’t in show biz, it’s obvious to them your are Captain Prepared For Anything.
Your bank loves you because you’ll be booking this gig for many years to come.
FEEL THE LOVE.
Details & Disclaimers
Keep in mind, this isn’t moment for a kiddie trick, but a classic trick that would work especially well playing up the kids looks of astonishment. Egg bag, linking rings — the entertaining interaction with the child is the key.
This probably not the best option if there are several kids, but bringing the props allows you to have the option.
What about Zoom? I wouldn’t do this in a 20 minute meeting drop in sort of show, but in a longer 45 minute set I might/probably pull the trigger. I’d set it up to spotlight my screen and the kid’s so the rest of the audience could enjoy his reactions. The biggest variable affecting the decision would be the kind of event it is.
This is a character-driven choice and my stage persona (husband of one, father of 7) comes from my real life persona (same). Your mileage may vary.
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