“Alright, gentlemen, that’s all for today.” The director looked at the cast with a feeling of satisfaction. It was the final week of rehearsal before the grand opening, and everything was going according to plan.
The director laughed to himself when he realized that this kind of endeavor seemed impossible just five short years ago. Then, the world was in the middle of a deadly pandemic. A silent enemy killed people in the hundreds of thousands. Setting up an evening show during that time was not possible.
But here they were, he and his big star. The star of the show was one of the biggest names in the industry. He was a real megastar that would guarantee sales at the box office.
The year was 1925, and the big star Harry Houdini.
Although the story is made up, the premise is real. In 1925, Harry Houdini launched his full-evening show “Three Shows In One: Magic, Escapes, and Fraud Mediums Exposed.”
This was after the Spanish flu circled the globe, infecting one-third of the world’s population and killing millions of people worldwide.
The Spanish flu is considered one of the most lethal pandemics in history. But over the centuries, humanity has faced a plethora of deadly diseases.
One thing we can learn from history is that it repeats itself. Magic and magicians have endured cholera, the black death, Smallpox, and every other pandemic known to man.
Magic and magicians will endure Covid-19.
What will the art of magic look like after Corona?
Magic as an artform will not change because of Covid-19. People will still be amazed about found cards, mindreading acts, and everything in between.
As I’m writing this, the world is in the middle of the pandemic. More and more people are working from home, and the idea of strolling up to somebody with cards in hand and say “pick a card” seems far away.
As a response to this, many magicians have turned to digital magic through video. Services like Zoom and Skype are booming because we cannot gather in social settings like before.
But I believe this is temporary. Humans are social animals, and because of that, we want to meet others in person.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Slack founder Stewart Butterfield mentioned a survey of 4,700 knowledge workers. The survey found that the majority never want to go back to the old way of working. Only 12% want to return to full-time office work, and 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward.
For the corporate magician, this might look terrifying. If everybody works from home, how can I perform at conferences and other corporate events?
In the same BBC-article, Indranil Roy, Executive Director at Deloitte Consulting, explains that even though most employees appreciate flexibility, face-to-face interaction is required to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges and generate ideas.
This means that conferences and corporate events will not go away just because people work from home.
With that said, I believe that not much will change for us as magicians. Companies will still have events. Trade shows will always be relevant. And so on.
Although magic and magicians are going through rough times, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As long as humans are on this earth, someone will use a perfectly executed double lift to fool others.
There will always be a demand for high-quality magic entertainment.
Your job now is to take advantage of the situation.
If you’re unsure about doing magic for money, there has never been a better time to start than now. In a few months, the built-up demand for live entertainment will create possibilities for everyone.
Until then, use the time wisely.
If you’re working from home, use the extra time you gain from not commuting and work on your magic.
If you’re in quarantine, stop watching Netflix and start writing your show.
Practice daily, and embrace the fact that many people are getting used to technology.
Do magic in a Facebook live for your friends.
Show your grandpa your latest trick via Skype.
The only limit is your imagination.