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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Performing in a children's hospital. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

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I've been invited to perform for the children in a local childrens hospital.

Basically I'd hop from room to room and perform a few tricks for each child.
Its much like table hopping as I've been informed by an older, more experienced
magician friend.

Does anyone have any experience with this and can anyone offer any advice for what tricks/props I should bring? I want to do it, I mean I will do it, I'd feel bad if
I didn't but I want to be as prepared as possible, its not till late next month so
I have a full month to prepare for this.

Sadly, many of these children have leukemia or other possibly terminal ailments.
I've been told to stay very upbeat, and smile alot, since the mood there tends to be so grey they recommend a general cheering them up attitude. anyone have any other advice?

Since it will be close up I'll be doing a lot of coin vanishes, bending, switches and productions using a topit and various methods. vanishing silks, silk blendo, pk effects, torn and restored dollar, and so on...

I'm honored to have been asked to do this, I just want to do it well, so please
everyone especially those with experience performing in hospitals, please chime in!

Steven
Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
1712 Posts

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Hospitals frown on sponge balls as they are seen as too easily carrying germs from patient to patient. Just be upbeat, they want to have fun and are as capable as any other audience. Also stay away from anything made of latex such as coin through rubber. You are doing a great thing and I can attest to how rewarding it is. Best of luck - break a thread!

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
evolve629
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A stack of
3838 Posts

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Haywire, I'm glad to see you want to perform magic for sick kids in children's hospital. I personally never done it but I've seen another veteran magician in the Café by the name of Mike Walton performing in children's hospitals in Chicago. He also has a website called openheartmagic.com/ Perhaps you can send Mike a PM. If you search Mike Walton here in the Café, you'll be able to find his profile page.
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
Kentrell
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Cleveland, OH
72 Posts

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Most of the hospitals have a do's and don't's list for all volunteers (most require the volunteers to sign it). It's a good idea to acquire the list early, b/c it should detail things such as patients handling objects. On some wards (bone marrow transplant or immunodeficiency), having patients handle things can be problematic. You should plan at least one set of effects that doesn't require a spectator to actually hold anything. Also, you'll see a very broad age range, so you need a variety of effects for toddlers to adolescents.

K
Justin2200
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Many younger kids like it when people pull coins from the kids ear. I've noticed this. Try some rope tricks too.
The Presitidigitationist
Bob Johnston
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Philadelphia, PA
1251 Posts

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Two things come to mind.

What you are doing in your forum picture is more than a no, no. Do not even have any spark or flame stuff with you in the hospital.

The good new is, that the food tray tables (in most Philadelphia hospitals) are better than most magic tables. You will probably want to do some up close, close up things. These tables can be positioned almost anywhere around a chiulds bed or chair. And, you will find one in every room.

Bob
calexa
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Germany
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Excellent idea with performing in hospitals. I want to do that when I go back to Germany.

Why don't you do a "card to wallet" or a "monkey in the middle". I think a spongeball routine, maybe with the sponge rabbits will work very well, too. I think flashy thing in general are very good.

Magixx
Optimists have more fun.....
sinnead zenun
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Mt. Makiling
408 Posts

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If the hospital permits you can do some magic with chocolates or candies...
some animation or levitation, even gags I think its better to show them funny magic since layghter is the best medecines...
Fiddling-Steve
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Danbury, Connecticut
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I gree with sinnead, laughter would be very good in a hospital. I think some rope magic, some simple card effects that don't require to much participation would work.
Stick to the classics,

Stephen
Bob Johnston
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Philadelphia, PA
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Candy (and chocolate) is not a good idea in a hospital. Of course, some children can have both, but many are on a very restricted diet. Why ad that kind of problem to your performance. Nothing should go from you to their mouth.

Sponge balls are not a good idea if you need their participation with them. They are a “textbook” carrier of infection that kids under hospital care should not be exposed to.

Bob
Loual4
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Montreal, Canada
670 Posts

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Three things I learned doing shows in hospitals, going from room to room:

1- no tricks involving fire (oxygen rich environment...)

2- no tricks involving latex (balloons, etc... some kids are allergic...)

3- Don't ever ask a kid what type of magic he/she would like to see... The answer I got nearly knocked me off my feet: "Make the pain go away!"
Chrystal
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Canada/France
1552 Posts

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Hi,

It's a wonderful thing you'll be doing and trust me on this one of the most rewarding. I've been doing hospital shows for about 8 years and here's some advice I can pass on. Your clientele will all be different in age ranges so be prepared to have a variety of items but they need to be quick set up things. Please don't be put off and mentally prepare yourself for kids with tubes,machines, baldness and other things that are associated with sick children. They'll see it in your eyes if this startles you. DON'T be condesending to them either...treat them like normal kids as that's what they want to be...that oh you poor kid attitude seems superficial to them and a lot have told me it irks them.

Just be yourself and throw a lot of humor into your effects. If that's not your style that's okay too as I suspect they'll see you as a cool guy. I remember reading on your introduction you play in a band and even chatting with them for a few mins about that will keep them interested. You may only do one effect in each room and that's okay too. Keep in mind the amount of rooms you need to visit and how much time is alloted for that - this will help you estimate how much time you have to spend in each room. Make sure you don't run out of time and visit each one - if you have extra time you can always do a few more things. It's better to have a little time at the end then have dissapointed kids should you be running late. Ask the nurses if you've missed anyone as some may be at appointments and you can always go back to them.

Wellington was right the dinner trays are perfect for closeup work. Depending on what type of magic you are doing you can involve the kids - this doesn't necessarily mean they have to touch the items. Some may be limited in their abilities to move their arms and even asking them to nod,blow or move their eyes to a request, will involve them and they love that. Although some people consider it lame I really love the magic coloring book or change bags where I do the manipulation but the child has had an active part in telling me the correct magic words and thus it appears they caused the magic.

Good luck and let us know how it went.

Chrystal
Mustang
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London, England
316 Posts

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Get hold of the bounce/no-bounce balls from http://www.davenportsmagic.co.uk, basically, they look/feel identical, but one bounces, one doesn't. The bounceless one is ill, goes to the doctor and regains his bounce. Easy lil story, very cute, very appropriate.
"A magician is one who appreciates the difference between knowing how a trick is done, and knowing how to do a trick."
haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

Profile of haywire
Wow thanks everyone for the great advice...

Bob and Loual4, I know full well fire, flash and spark is out in a hospital.
I did get a list from the hospital and I was told no handouts (candy, gum etc)
no balloons and yes no fire.

Chrystal you have given me good advice as well. I have mentally prepared myself for this by researching chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I've looked at pictures and I myself had a family member child, who was once terminally ill.

I will ignore their appearances and treat them like regular children, and although I'm not usually very humorous in my presentation, I am adjusting myself to be as
humorous as possible.

Thanks for everyone's help!

Steven
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