Tonight is my first stage performance. I take that back. This isn't my first performance, but my first professional stage performance. Once my gig is concluded, I'll get a nice paycheck. This is a relief as much as it is exciting. I wasn't sure this would pan out - do you know how hard it is to make a living as a stage performer in a world of special effects and Xtreme sports?
I'm really glad it did though. I like eating. And I like having a little fun.
Back to the stage. It's pretty standard fare, with a few extra lights for effect and heavy drapes as a backdrop. Upstage is a small table draped in black velvet - it took me three months to get enough cash to buy the fabric. Downstage isn't much more than the drapery. My stage set-up is simple. It makes it easier to convince the audience I know what I'm doing.
I'm a new magician in a very small world. Stage magic isn't what it used to be. Gone are the days of audiences oohing and ahhing at flowers from wands and rabbits from hats. They want a spectacle. 'To be amazed. It takes a bit more work now than it did at the turn of the century. I don't mind. I like the work. I like the creativity. I like working with my dad.
That last one's my favorite.
Dad and I spend hours coming up with new tricks for our acts. We share ideas and critique each other's work. I doubt we're the only two magicians who work so closely together, but we may be the only two who use real magic.
That's right. I'm a wizard. My Dad's not, but I've taught him a couple things that he can use in his shows that most other magicians can't do. A few could probably pull them off, but it would take a lot more heavy concentration for them, which would detract from their showmanship. It's not like that for Dad and I. I have a lot of magical talent; Dad has a little. It's enough to give him a bit of an edge for flourishes, but that's all.
I've been told the magic is passed through the mother's side of the family, but that may have just been in my case. Otherwise, there'd probably be a much greater shortage of wizards and magical practitioners. I suppose it's just more likely that women pass the gifts along. Genetics isn't my thing.
Back to my stage: the floor itself is black, as are the drapes. I've requested dark blue, but they said they don't have time to get those in before my show. That just means I needed to change the lighting. That's what we're working on now - the lighting. Whites here, blues there, reds there - it's all complicated and important, but boring and frustrating at the same time.
But being on stage - that part I love. If it could all be performance, I'd be happy. I know it doesn't work that way, but I can dream. Instead, I work on my show and practice and help with the lighting and perform when I can and keep on going.
Why do I keep doing it?
There is nothing better than seeing the audience rise to its feet at the end of the show and clap until their hands are raw while you stand on the stage and take your bows. It's an amazing rush and worth every second of the less fun stuff before the show.
Bottom line: I love my job.
"Harry, have you seen my bowtie?"
"It's on the dresser, Dad." I'm working on tying my own tie and rehearsing the incantation that makes my doves remember not to fly away over the audience. That was a big mess that first time. I've been a lot more careful since.
This show tonight with my dad is making me nervous. It's not that I don't know what I'm doing. I do. But I've never opened for a headlining act before, so I don't want to make an ass of myself. No, we're not performing together. I'm the opening act for my dad. He's the headliner tonight. I'm not quite that well-known yet. Maybe someday. For now, I'll open the show and warm up the crowd.
"Harry, do you know where I left my good socks?"
I love my dad, but I think he'd forget his head if it wasn't attached. "They're on the floor by the bed. They rolled off when you picked up your pants." And no, that's not a talent of any magical basis that I'm using there. I just know my dad really well. This isn't the first time I've fielded these same questions.
"Thanks, Harry," I hear through the hall and see him tugging on his socks, then slipping into his polished shoes that glint in the stage lights when he steps across during his performance. I've been working for years and still get get my shoes to shine like that. Not even with magic.
While this isn't the first night I've helped my dad prepare for a show, it is the first time I've had a professional show of my own to prepare for at the same time and it's a little more nerve-wracking than I was expecting. But he's helping me out too. Keeping me focused on the routine and not on the up-coming performance and, you know what, I think I'm going to be just fine.
I give him a nod and head for the stagedoor. The show begins NOW.