I've done close up magic since 1983. I've performed all over the world now, and even done a card trick on Tera Patrick and Peter North!
My degree was drama, and I acted all my childhood, and never really combined the two.
I always fancied doing a 20 minute act at a comedy club. I think it plays well for the evening to have a magician break up the comedians. I'd been thinking about it for several years and not done anything about. Opportunity knocked on my door about 6 weeks ago when a friend called that was in charge of a tent at a festival and wanted me to do something. Great. I can build up a stage act and do it at a festival where everyone will be wobbly and in the mood for entertainment.
I then proceeded to crap my pants thinking about it. What could I do? How to select effects? How to order them? Script it. Etc.
I reread Pete McCabe's excellent Scripting Magic, I emailed a few magician friends asking questions, I started to put together an act. I swopped in things, swopped things out. Decided to end with Whit Haydn's ring act. Ian Kendall told me to open with it. He is clearly great, so I did as he said. Great idea. Worked wonderfully. (I actually opened with John Lovick's bottle production, but that was just to quickly establish myself as a magician.
I then went into Professor's Nightmare, just the way I do it close up, Mr Regals Sudden Deck2, then got a couple up and did 3 cards across and was going to end with needle through arm with.
However, when setting up, I realised the bulb from the needle was borked and not squirting. Hmm. I needed 5 minutes.
I paced and thought, and did a test. You could see the indice of a card from the back of the tent I was in. So I changed the order, with the couple up I did Ambitious card, then closed with 3 cards across. This is normally how I close my close up, so it felt right.
How was it compared to close up? Astoundingly different. The tent was not that full at the start, but by the end, there were 5 rows of people standing at the back past the cafe table set up. I looked out over them and saw them all laughing in the right places, clapping when they should, all doing what they are told and all being amazed by the magic.
Feeling the applause from a tent full of people at the end was like the best drug, the best day, the best sex, the best meal in the world all rolled into one. If you could bottle that and sell it you'd make a fortune.
Afterwards, I got the act booked for two more events too.
So, the point of this is I know lots of magicians scared to do a stage show. I say do it! My heart was like a hummingbird before hand, I was pacing and pacing and pooing my pants. But during the act and especially afterwards I had the most incredible amazing feeling I think I've had.
Just felt like sharing.
PS Thanks to Ian, Dom, Kent and Larry for the help