Last night I read this line, written by the Spanish maestro card magician Arturo de Ascanio, and felt a rush of blood, enthusiasm, and energy.
Nothing more and nothing less, than to transfigure the popular idea of what a magic trick is. That is the goal, the big challenge.
Ascanio is writing this in his preface to the book by René Lavand, a name that readers of this blog will know, since Lavand is in my eyes (and in the eyes of countless magicians) the most inspiring conjuring-performing artist, who used sleight-of-hand magic as a means to construct refined, poetic, literary and imaginative works.
Later in his book Lavand admonishes magicians for choosing shortcuts and clichés, as exemplified by statements such as 'nothing there, nothing here', 'a touch of the wand', let's say Abracadabra', etc.
A sober reminder not to fall into old habits for the sake of convenience and ease of communication.
Since devising This is not a magic show, performing it in Edinburgh and touring it now in 2016, I've felt somewhat "sucked" back into being a Magician, with a capital M. When really I am not: though I practise daily, I hardly ever perform, outside of doing the theatre show. And even the show itself (without blowing the metaphorical trumpet), although indeed a magic performance, it is framed and moved along by the writing, by odd self-reflexive conceits, and by a kind deconstructive humour (what a list of words that is....). I hope, in short, that the piece is something of a transfiguration of what magic tricks are.
Yet the pull of the 'Abracadabra' is always there, like a dark attractive force...
To be AND to not be a magician: learning to inhabit that contradiction seems really necessary to take magic in new and interesting directions!
End of blog post. Be well.
Below a video recording (in Spanish) of Ascanio's rather famous torn and restored signed card.