Yesterday morning, I performed a show for children at an exclusive country club for their "Kids Camp," It was a good experience. We all had fun. As I was cleaning up my equipment after a 50 minute show, in the next club house room a clown came in who had been hired. The woman went by the name "Funny Bunny," I think. I could see and hear her from where I was. She was pleasant and good with the children. She told them that she would be doing face painting, making balloon figures AND she would show and teach them some magic. Of course the balloons were swords for the boys which produced a chaos of sword fighting and busted balloons.
When she got to the "magic" I was starting to move my packed equipment out of the area. However, since I occasionally teach magic workshops for children in which I teach a bit about performing, perform magic, teach and help them practice age appropriate magic that they can do with objects around the house and talk about library resources, I wanted to see what she did.
I should not have listened in....bad for my disposition and feeds my dislike of many clowns. First she did a quick version (she really had no "presentation" just did the tricks move by move)of the twentieth century silks where you pull the two tied silks apart and a piece of underwear appears between them. Don't worry, no lace panties, she appeared a funny pair of boxer shorts against her own body...I do not believe she vanished any ahead of time in the routine. Then, she says "Let me show how this is done. You stuff this in this...." Here is where my anger rose. Why teach this to children?
Then she brought out a standard coloring book. No big presentation just: "Look the pages of this book are blank...now they have lines....now there are colors. Want to see how this works?" And she exposed it. (I had done a version of this in my act but not the standard coloring book.) Now why show or teach this? Is a kid going to have one of these at home? I do not think she was allowed to do back of room sales. What does this whole section of her services contribute to the art of magic?
At that point, I left so I would not say anything! OK I love circuses and genuinely artful clowns. This was a travesty of misunderstanding magic as an art and what creatively might be done to "teach" children. Not to mention the partial trivialization or undercutting of a "fellow" performer's art. Peace...Fred (Reisz)