Street magic as a performance in front of passers-by on the street has been known since time immemorial. It has two directions:
1) magic of the performance (traditional);
2) impromptu magic (guerrilla magic).
Traditional magic was widely known in Ancient Greece, where wandering “illusionists” freely moved and traded, showing various tricks to random viewers. This was their trade and for their efforts they received alms in cash or in kind, such as food. The secrets of their tricks they kept and did not give out to anyone, so as not to lose their livelihood. Magicians in the Ancient world could perform both independently and together with traveling theater or circus troupes.
Previously, street performances of illusionists were long and included stage theatrical performances: this approach made the attention of onlookers for a long time to attract, cause them surprise, delight, euphoria… and the desire to throw the artist a couple of gold coins.
A feature of street performances is that it is not possible to use large props, because it is problematic to move with them. That’s why illusionists usually perform magic tricks from the micromagia section on the streets: for example, with coins, money, cards, and other small props. Mind – reading tricks, such as mentalism, are also popular.
In addition, when performing tricks on the street, the probability of being exposed is much higher than in the hall or on the stage, since observers can be everywhere, including behind the illusionist’s back.
The popularity of street magic was high until the middle of the last century. But the rapid development of science and technology has left its mark on the art of illusion. Therefore, today traditional street performances have given way to a new and progressive type of street magic – impromptu magic (guerrilla magic).
Magic of impromptu
Thus, the emergence and development of the Internet, as well as the ability to shoot videos without difficulty and preparation, gave rise to a new direction of street magic – guerrilla magic or impromptu magic.
The term “guerrilla magic” (“impromptu magic”) and the style of this direction in magic was invented and popularized by the world-famous illusionist-American David blaine in 1997.
Also, as in traditional street magic, guerrilla magic shows mostly micro-magic tricks using small props (playing cards, coins, etc.).
But in contrast to the traditional, the main task of the performance in the style of guerrilla magic is to surprise and delight the casual passer-by with one or two enchanting tricks. And the purpose of this mini-performance is not to get a reward from a random viewer, but to shoot video tricks for further distribution on the Internet.
It should be noted that some illusionists consider these performances as promotions in order to “sell” their tricks to less experienced colleagues in the shop in the future. Perhaps there is some truth in this.
But whatever it was, any magician in his career should pass the “young fighter course” in street performances. This will not only give him the opportunity to understand his mistakes, gain self-confidence and gain invaluable experience, but also the newly minted illusionist will have his first fans.