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Topic: Mentalism for Young minds and Teens - Report
Message: Posted by: Remarkable Marco (Dec 14, 2013 09:58PM)
Yesterday I performed a mentalist show for the local Boys and Girls Club before an audience of approximately 50 spectators between 9 and 16. I ambitiously decided not to go for "children" stuff, but basically to perform "regular" mentalism and simply choosing particularly visual effects and explaining things a bit more than I would otherwise. It worked very well and I had great success, so I am sharing my experience here in case this may give some ideas to performers in a similar context.

First I introduced myself and showed a dry erase board with the word "mentalism" written on it. I asked the audience if they knew what it means. Someone volunteered the joke that it means that I am mental, which was expected and welcome, as it created a playful atmosphere. As long as you laugh too and show you found it funny, it is not disruptive at all. Then someone said it was mental magic. I said it was correct, and I explained that mentalism is different from stage magic because the audience has a much more central role. To demonstrate this, THEY, the audience, would be performing the first effect. Which was Maven's Khan Artist. They were visibly impressed.

Next, the thing I was least sure about. I said that now I needed to warm up a little, and a bit of mind reading would be the ideal thing for that. I walked by the audience holding "a book about airplanes" (FF), "a book about baseball" (FF), "a book about friendship" (insight) and a mystery (MOABT). I asked 3 random people to choose a book, they selected a random page, and memorized a word. I went back to the stage, showed the books to everyone, recapitulated that the spectators could choose any book, stop at any page, and there was no way for me to know their words. Then I divined the 3 words in a rapid sequence, bam, bam bam.

Then I said I'd do something similar but, who knows, maybe with a twist at the end. I invited 2 spectators on stage and performed Booked, in the variant where the page disappears from the book and reappears in the paper ball that was used to select the spectators. When the page was revealed to be missing from the books I heard actual gasps from the room.

At this point a kid raised his hand and asked if magic is real. I said I didn't know if real magic existed, but I was not claiming to do real magic and all I was doing was based on psychology and understanding of the human mind. The kid spoke with perfect timing because that was exactly when I was planning to introduce the psychological demonstrations. Wouldn't have worked better if I had arranged it beforehand. So I performed Cinema Verite with 3 spectators, to demonstrate how one can appear to be reading minds simply by listening to people's voice, and then a "psychological psychometry" routine: 5 spectators make a drawing or write something on dry erase boards, and I guess who wrote / drew what, using a bit of fake psychological spiel and keeping it fun. I presented it a bit like a game were they try to trick me, so it was more exciting for everyone, including the viewers.

Then, the closing effect, Color Match - which again provoked audible gasps.

After the show a crowd of kids came to my table to ask questions and show me their cute card tricks. I also performed Multi Dimensional and Powerball 60 several times for them.

The main shows lasted about 40 minutes, and the after show about 20.

All in all, great fun. It was the first time I performed for an audience this young, and loved it!!! If you are performing for this type of audience don't worry: they "get" mentalism. They see it more like a game between you and them, where they try to hide the information from you and sometimes want to be tricky, but that only makes them more interested and reactive.
Message: Posted by: ALEXANDRE (Dec 14, 2013 10:20PM)
It certainly sounds like it was a fun show!

I don't generally like performing for children, they're a tough crowd!

Would love to see you perform someday, Marco. Thanks for posting your experience.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 14, 2013 10:55PM)
Sounds more like a nice mental magic show to me, which was probably best for the age kids. I'm not sure, Marco's definition of mentalism might be different than mine and some others here.
Message: Posted by: Remarkable Marco (Dec 14, 2013 10:59PM)
The only mental magic was really Booked, IMHO, everything else is pretty much psychological mentalism to me, or at least that is how presented it. Well, maybe Color Match tends to magic too, in that I could not explain in terms of body language and voice how I could predict the outcome of the drawing. We may still have a different definition of mentalism though :)
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Dec 14, 2013 11:03PM)
You are kidding right?
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 14, 2013 11:23PM)
Congratulations, Marco. It sounds like you established a really nice rapport with the children, and provided them with an experience they will long remember! Well done!
Message: Posted by: Ronsmail (Aug 17, 2014 08:06AM)
Marco, Did you get a lot of heckling ? I'm talking about the annoying kind?