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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » The opposite of performing for children (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MrGreggy
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Years ago... many years ago... when I was just starting out in magic I got booked to perform at a nursing home. I was in my mid-late teens. As you can well imagine, it was a disaster.

It was also the last time I used a prop recently bought at the local IBM auction... a cheaply made (perhaps Abbots) guillotine illusion. Thinking back, I cringe when placing myself in the mindset of the residents watching my show.

The VERY few times I've performed for senior citizens since then have not gone so well either. I did have some good responses with strolling card tricks, as mentioned in a previous posting.

I applaud & respect entertainers who work with the seniors. Keep up the good work!
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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At 55 I am fast approaching one.

We are blessed to have my wife's folks living with us. (age 86 and 89)
I joke that it cost my friends 25 cents to ride the carnival ride. (chair lift)

I also get some material...for instance...

Charlie used to do a lot of fishing..

he still does but ...

at Ryans or Long John Silvers....

I also get suggestions for sing alongs such as
Sentimental Journey or Good Night Ladies....

Reality sure helps this nearly normal guys writing....


Harris
laughologist and nearly normal "righter"
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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TRUMPETMAN
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Ventriloquist Rick Berman recently released a book called "It Ain't Broadway" which relates his many years of experiences while working in assisted living facilites, nursing homes, and Alzheimer units. Since I do a lot of these shows, I decided to read the book, and found much to identify with in its pages! If you plan on doing more than a few of these, you might want to peruse this tome.
:)

Mark

Posted: Nov 6, 2009 11:05pm
Ooops. The author of the book is Rick "Berger", not Berman. Sorry !


Mark
Mark Pettey
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Though many of the residents living in care facilities are less than responsive…
it does NOT mean that they don’t appreciate the company and entertainment!!!

These folks are often alone,
and when they do have guests they are often treated as children,
which they are not.

Here the magic is secondary…
the fact that someone cares to visit and interact is very important.
The fact that they are in a social setting is important,
it’s a real treat and a lift to their humanity.

I’ve learned some of these folk love to talk and reminisce,
and tell me endlessly about how they met Keller or Thurston, or Houdini,
and let me be impressed with their youth,
rather than them being impressed with my magic.

At a time I was doing a good number of these shows, I
purchased very cuddly and very inexpensive stuffed rabbits or teddy bears
and left one with each guest as a memento,
they loved and cherished these small gifts I left in each lap.

As said above, don’t expect a lot of reaction,
and leave your ego at home.
Avoid long or complicated magic or involved stories or plots, go for fast, fun, magic.
Avoid magic that takes memory (like taking a card)
or audience/spectator involvement.

OK, to business…
in order to qualify for Federal Funding (and all these places do) they MUST show that they have an entertainment budget, and PROVE that those dollars were spent each month on their residents.

This means that if they cry poor, or beg for a bargain, they know you have a soft heart,
or they can pull in three times the entertainers on the same budget,
or someone is walking out the back door with the remainder of your paycheck.
They can’t pay a huge amount, but they DO have a fairly generous budget,
and it’s your job to show them it should go to you and not the sing-along-lady,
this can be done by demonstrating that you care about these seniors…
and know how to reach them and satisfy their needs.

It sometimes takes a tough skin to do these shows,
as you’ll see some sadness, people in desperate states,
and not get the laughs and awe you expect,
but it can be a rewarding gig, and one not a lot of entertainers will compete for.
And you can build a reputation as a caring and sensitive entertainer in these venues
and then make some decent bucks.

It’s not for everybody, but thank god some people will make the effort,
we might be the next generation’s audience in the “old folks home”!

My two-cents,
Walt
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Don't be surprised if one (or more) of the residents flirt with you. (or your puppets)
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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Dynamike
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In nursing homes I use lines that will help inspire the seniors. Some residents might not understand but it is ok because the staff can see I am trying to use methods that will touch their minds with feeling positive.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Along with shows, I have also sat in on focus groups at these venues.
Stimulating minds through memories, sing alongs and eliciting laughter is a great thing. We also talked about current events. Comparing stories about children and yes grandchildren is fun. (I don't yet have any great grand children.)

Harris
too young to be a grandfather
deutsch
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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RJE
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Quote:
On 2009-11-18 11:37, Harris wrote:
Don't be surprised if one (or more) of the residents flirt with you. (or your puppets)


You might want to check out this news article for fun...

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/11/1......hiv.html
Bill Hilly
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Quote:
On 2009-11-18 13:19, Harris wrote:

(I don't yet have any great grand children.)




Come on Harris, don't you think they're great?
Bill Hilly
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Re-reading this thread, I thank you all for your contributions. There is a wealth of information and ideas here.

I love doing shows for seniors. I've been doing it since I was about 12 years old. I'm 51 now. Of course back then it was mostly free stuff with the church group, but now it's close to 15% of my gigs.

As to budgets, I've had some places tell me they have no money at all and some book me for (a few) hundreds of dollars. My show is more like Harris' than most of yours - mostly music with a few comedy magic routines and LOTS of comedy, a'la Red Skelton. I can do some vent, but haven't worked out many good routines for the puppets I have.

The differnet types of groups and shows I've done are: Christmas, Spring, Nursing, Assisted Living, Retirement Villages, and Senior Day at County Fair.

The warm heart I feel after the show is exactly why I feel lucky to be an entertainer. The audience gives me (at least) as much as I give them.

Thanks guys, for this thread.

Beano
(For the railroad, not the gas pills.)
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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This Thread is worth resurrecting. (Hey it is Easter time)

For the past year I have been working with a Drama and Music Therapist and doing more and more Assisted Living Centers.

This includes age appropriate Vent and Comedy Routines.
It also has given me the opportunity to play some old fashion Rock & Roll, Folk and some original tunes.

Sometimes grand and great grand kids are invited, but mostly just great people who happen to be closer to my age than the ones in say Library audiences.
Many times a resident shares their own entertainment background. From touring with Bob Hope to being a drummer in a rock and roll band, I have met some wonderful people. It is great to have to jobs I love. The day one working with teens, and my other "hat" as Dr. Laugh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP-Du4hZtK4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYI0SFsTarc
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
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