Dick Christian wrote:Just my opinion, but I wouldn't even consider mentalism for any group younger than high school age and I'd even have to think twice about that. IMO magic is fine for elementary school age (i.e., 6 and older), but definitely not mentalism. Six is about the youngest for which real magic (as opposed to simple, silly, visual "clown magic") is appropriate. To understand and appreciate "magic" the audience needs to have attained a level of psychological development such that they understand that there is a relationship between cause and effect, have a clear understanding of what is real and what is not and what is possible and what is not. Lacking that level of sophistication they have no concept of "magic," i.e., that they have witnessed something that violates the fundamental laws of nature -- i.e., something that is impossible. Psychologists will tell you that a child typically reaches that level of understanding at about age 6 or 7.
While it is true that younger children will watch and enjoy a magic show they will also watch and enjoy any adult who appears to be interested in them. That is far different from understanding the significance of what they've seen. "Understanding" does NOT refer to knowing how the trick was done, but simply understanding that they have seen a trick. The very concept of a "trick" is usually lost on a child of 5 or younger.
The concept/premise of mentalism is well beyond the ken of elementary, middle school and most junior high school students.
Dick I agree that toddlers and young elemtary age children will not get the concepts of mentalism, but I know for sure that middle schoolers and older elementary students understand some mentalism effects/routines. I've done information retrieval effects, and pychometry acts and they've worked. The reaction is that of "how did you do that" reactions.
Young elemtary kids also understand the "miracles" of mind reading. I've done them for my nieces and nephews and they're friends many times to a "how did you know ?" reactions. but they have been quick routine/effects tho.
Its the longer routines I think would be almost impossible to do for kids that do understand the concepts. They might understand them but I doubt the impact will be great because of the lack of total attention, and the patience, to sit thru some of the longer routines.
And btw I've done magic for my 2 yr old niece and she understood some of them. Some of the effects she understood were torn and restored card(doesn't understand any pick a card effects tho), simple vanish and reapearances with coins, sponge balls and TT hanky vanish and reappearance. I also watched with her on video and she understood the part where the card case turns into a small case in Henry Evans "tribute to Varone" so she understands some transformation/metamorphises as long as the change is easy and makes sense to them.