I walked off stage after performing and thought to myself, “I was so bad.” To put this into context, let’s back up 15 minutes, before my act began…
I usually put my phone away before I perform, but I am bored. My set is starting late, since the performer before me began late. I’m sitting on a chair on stage, waiting for the call to open the curtain and begin my set. I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed and emails, trying to occupy my time while I wait for my turn to shine on stage. I’m not thinking about my act at all, but putting all of my attention into mindless social media trolling. After all, I know my set, right? I’m told that we’re about to begin. I return backstage, the introduction music begins and the curtain is pulled back. I stroll onstage, greet my audience and then perform a mediocre 15 minutes of entertainment. This is where the post began.
Now let’s fast forward a performance a week later, on the same stage. Again, the set is starting late, which I’m learning to accept as a normality at this venue. I use the spare time to run through my act multiple times, both in my head and going through the motions on stage. I feel confident that I know the set inside and out. I walk backstage and begin vocal exercises to make sure my audience understands me: “How now brown cow, why do you look so sad… Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers… boo, boh, bow, bah, bae, bee…”
I’m told that we’re about to start. The introduction music begins and the curtain is pulled back. I whisper to myself, “You look great, and you’re a great performer,” (something I read in a magic book many years ago). I walk onstage to greet my audience, and then crush it on stage. It’s 15 minutes of killer, magic, mentalism and entertainment.
Both the audience and myself noticed a difference in my act, not because of the magic performed, but because of the preparation, or lack thereof, that I put in leading up to the set. Cockiness is a dangerous enemy, and I let my magic suffer if I do not dedicate time to get in the zone and focus on giving the best show possible. It’s not fair to me, and it’s not fair to my audiences. Lesson learned.