A Guest Post by Lois Strachan
I can only imagine how perplexed people must be to see me at a magic show. After all, a magic show, where sleight of hand and illusion are the norm, wouldn’t seem to be an obvious place to find a totally blind person.
Yet I love going to magic shows.
Admittedly I don’t get the wow-factor that comes from the visual side of seeing an illusion being skillfully set up and executed, so it’s true my experience differs from that of a sighted person. Let me see if I can give you a sense of why I enjoy magic shows.
“… maybe I don’t get to experience exactly what a sighted person does when I go to a magic show but, believe me, my experience is no less magic.”
The Skill Of The Verbal Patter
It’s natural for a sighted person to focus more on what they’re seeing at a magic show – after all, magic is very visual – but I get to really listen to the words and phrases the magician uses as he or she sets up and performs each illusion.
I can usually follow the basics of an illusion from what the performer says. It’s possible the magician may be describing more of what’s happening because a visually impaired person is in the audience, but I don’t have a way to confirm that; I don’t get to hear what they say when I’m not present, do I?
I also enjoy the way magicians use verbal misdirection. You’d be amazed how often words can be used to focus the audience’s attention exactly where the performer wants it, to build expectation or increase tension. Experiencing how a skilled performer uses words as a tool to manipulate the audience’s focus can be pure magic all on its own!
The Magic Beyond The Act
Because I’m not focusing totally on what’s happening on stage at a magic show I’m able to tune into the magic happening beyond the act, mostly in the minds and reactions of the rest of the audience. I love experiencing the growing excitement and awe that audiences express as the illusions continue. I especially love listening to the reactions of children – their excitement and incredulity as the show progresses is almost tangible. Believe me, I can experience the vibe at a magic show – and it’s a contagious kind of energy!
The “Trick” Of It All
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I always try to figure out how the illusions at a magic show are done. Maybe it’s the way my mind works: a (at times, perhaps unhealthy) desire to prove how clever I am by figuring out the trick of it all. So I sit there with my brain working overtime trying to think how it’s done, which requires logic, imagination and brain power, not sight. Of course, most of the time I only land up proving how clever I’m not since I can seldom figure out any of the illusions, but that’s okay – it’s all part of the game!
So, maybe I don’t get to experience exactly what a sighted person does when I go to a magic show but, believe me, my experience is no less magic. It’s just a slightly different type of magic, that’s all.
About the writer:
Lois Strachan is a speaker, author, blogger and musician who works to increase the inclusion of persons with disabilities into society and the workplace.
She has published a series of illustrated children’s books, The Adventures Of Missy Mouse, and an inspirational memoir, A Different Way Of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey Of Living an Ordinary Life in an Extraordinary Way.
Lois assists organisations to accommodate the needs of the differently abled through services like website accessibility assessments, customer service training and team sensitisation.