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Speaking or performing for a live audience is more of an art form than people know. Its not just a matter of getting up there and doing your thing but rather creating the proper staging area so your performance area ensures a receptive audience. What makes a good staging area? Illusionist and Magician Timothy Drake shares some of the secrets he has learned in 20 years of performing for live audiences.
SILENCE PLEASE: Silence is not normally something a performer wants from their audience during their show ( applause is always welcomed ) but silence from an audience at the beginning of a show is when the magician can have the audiences full attention to create a needed connection with that audience. The performer should only introduced when the audience is quieted and a proper introduction can be delivered. If the performer is introduced while the audience is talking and not paying attention then not only is the audience missing the introduction but you are telling the audience that the performer is not worthy of their attention. This starts the show off to a very bad start where the performer has to struggle to gain the attention they didn’t get from the beginning. ” If I can start off with the audiences attention at the beginning of a show … I’ll have no trouble at all keeping it for the duration” says Drake. “The worst way to start a show is to be introduced while people are talking or still finding their seats”
CLOSE THE BAR: Many events feature a bar during dinner and dancing. During a live show however… ( especially a magic show ) the bar should be closed. A magic show is somewhat like a comedy show where there is a build up to a punch line. In this case the punchline is a surprise magic effect that the audience wasn’t expecting. If an audience member is on their way to or from the bar they are missing the set up for that effect as well as the final effect possibly. A line up of several guests at the bar is also an invitation to a conversation where the noise distracts from the performer on stage. It is recommended that the bar be closed before the show but not before guests have been notified that now is a good time to get drinks as the bar will soon be closing.
THE DANCE FLOOR OF DEATH: If you really really want to kill a magic show… put a big empty dance floor directly in front of the stage separating the performer from the audience they are trying to create a connection with. A magician needs to be able to look audience members in the eye if they want to connect with them. Drake likens an audience on the other side of a dance floor to a performer trying to get your attention from across the street. How much interest will you really have in them if you can’t see them clearly? When that interest fades in an audience the talking begins and you have lost your bond with them. Timothy’s show features lots of audience participation and when it comes time to choose a volunteer simply looking into the audience or stepping off stage into a crowd works well. It should be fun and quick so the show isn’t interrupted. If you have to leave the stage and run across a dance floor to search through the dark for a volunteer the momentum in the show lags along with audience attention as the stage is empty and boring in your absence. ” The dance floor of death is a hotly debated topic with many an inexperienced event organizer or catering manager.” explains the illusionist. ” My job as the performer is to ensure the audience has the very best show experience available. Sometimes the event organizer or catering manager simply wants whats easiest for them and not what is best for the show. When I show up to an event and discover and empty dance floor in front of the stage I speak with the person in charge about moving tables on to the dance floor for two reasons. The first is for the reasons stated above and the second is gives those tables in the back that were moved a much closer view and a more enjoyable show experience. Another alternative is to have chairs placed in front of the stage before the show starts. Guests in the back can sit in those chairs during showtime and when the show is over they simply return to their tables and the chairs are removed.
Either way…. there must be an audience in front of the stage. If those seated in front of the stage enjoy the show… everyone in the room will pay attention and enjoy the show. The Dance Floor of Death will kill the show… end of story.
VISIBILITY: As mentioned earlier an audience has to be able to clearly see a performer. If you have more than 100 guests then a stage or riser of some sort is needed to make sure everyone has a good view. The stage should be at least 12 inches to 24 inches high. The larger the crowd the higher the stage so all those in the back can see. Tall centrepieces on a table are a NO NO as well. Nothing blocks a audience members view of a stage like a bouquet of balloons rising up from every table or even a large floral arrangement. If you have ever sat behind a tall person at the movies… you know what we are referring to.
DINNER: And now the golden rule of ANY live entertainment at a banquet. There is a reason they call it AFTER DINNER entertainment and that is because its suppose to be after dinner and NEVER during dinner. If the event is running late on time they may encourage the performer to go on during dinner. No professional would ever do this. Dinner is for dining..aka…eating with focus being on the meal in front of you and in conversation. The guest should expect enjoy that experience and not have to focus on whatever is happening on stage. Imagine sitting at a round table with your back to the stage and being asked to watch the show while you eat? Its pretty much impossible to focus on entertainment while eating when at the same time servers are passing between tables delivering food and clearing dishes and asking you if you’d like more coffee.
If you can follow these rules your live entertainment has a much better chance of success in entertaining your group.
Magician Timothy Drake is a full time entertainer who has performed magic and illusion at banquets, corporate and special events across South Western Ontario and Canada for 20 years. The above mentioned tips are some of the hard earned lessons he claims to have learned the hard way. ” In the beginning I would give in to the caterer who didn’t want to move tables or the event planner more interested in the dancing after the show than the show” says Timothy. ” Then I learned that a poor decision on the event planners part… reflected on my show and not them. It made my show look bad. From that point on I stuck to my guns and insisted the room be set properly so the audience can experience a show they will enjoy.
A good Magician never gives up his secret and it seems the internet is a very good magician currently. After a magic show in at the London Convention Centre in March of 2016 I received a very nice email from someone who attended the show to compliment me on the magic they had witnessed that day. They also thought it a good thing to inform me that while visiting my website TimothyDrake.ca they noticed all links let to naughty websites most unbecoming to a magician. Egads!! My official website had been hacked. After all the spammy programs had been purged and everything cleared up with google. ( that nasty ” this website might be hacked” tag was removed.
All was good or so I thought. Shortly after all reference to my website vanished from all search engines. It is still there but try to find it on google or any other search engine. Poof! Gone! For some reason the blog can still easily be found however. Resubmissions to google have yet to provide any results. Stay Tuned. 😉
UPDATE: After several days of exploring solutions on the web I learned that a file called a ctaccess file was redirecting all web results to a blank page. That little monster has now been removed and pages will now be recognized by google when indexed again.
In addition to the performance of magic and the development of new illusions for his own magic show Drake acts as magic consultant for other magicians in North America, CBC Television and for live theatre events. Recently Timothy Drake had the immense honour of acting as magic consultant for the 2013 Fashion Show titled PRESTIGE…. A Journey of Illusions. The show was an immense success due to the efforts of over 100 dedicated University of Western Ontario Students and other participants who produced the show. PRESTIGE raised over $25,000 for a London Ontario Children’s Charity.
Timothy Drake performs his own magic and illusion show at special events in Canadian cities across Ontario. Recent shows include performances in Guelph, Sarnia, Collingwood, Brampton, Mississauaga, North York, Newmarket, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Markham and Windsor.
Magician Timothy Drake with the cast of Prestige.. A Journey of Illusions
Magician Timothy Drake performs a wide variety of magical illusions in his corporate and special events magic shows. Drake performs his illusion show as after dinner entertainment at corporate banquets, dinners, awards ceremonies and meetings in Toronto, the GTA and Southwestern Ontario including cities such as Mississauga, Guelph, Oakville, Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Kitchener and London.
Magician Timothy Drake vanishes a girl in an Illusion show at a corporate holiday party.
Magician Timothy Drake often asks members of his magic show audience to join him on stage to help in performing an illusion. Timothy likes to blend both original and amazing magic in his corporate after dinner banquet shows. This Toronto Illusionist presents his show at corporate special events and banquets in the Toronto and GTA as well as across south western ontario. Sometimes audience members may be a bit timid about joining Drake on stage as they fear they will be embarrassed or made to look foolish. ” I’d never do such a thing” Drake says. ” I share some clean fun with some of them but for the most part its about making them the stars of the show.” In the photo below a volunteer who was at first skeptical is amazed at the magic that literally happens in her own hands.
Magician Timothy Drake performs at a corporate special event.
Toronto MagicianTimothy Drake makes entertaining his corporate audiences his primary goal when performing his magic and illusion show at special events across Ontario. Quite often Timothy performs his banquet show as after dinner entertainment in a large room where guests seated at the back of the room will not be able to experience the show 100% as the guests seated at the front are blocking their view. Drake always takes time at the beginning of the show to invite guests to move their chairs forward so they may see the magic up close. He warns then that when the magic starts happening they are going to end up standing on their chairs or at least standing up to get a better view so …. please move your chairs now. For some reason that still remains a mystery to the magician…. guests rarely are willing to move their chairs. This photo is the result. Next time…. please trust the performer when he tells you what will make the experience more enjoyable for you. Its his job. 😉
Audience member tries to get a better view of the magic of Timothy Drake.
Toronto MagicianTimothy Drake travels across South Western Ontario performing magic and illusion shows for corporate functions and special events. Drake most often performs his unique style of magic as after dinner entertainment at corporate events and parties.
Timothy Drake enjoys bringing some laughter to the table in his magic shows. Magic volunteers who are brave enough to assist during the show are treated to both amazing magic and illusion but also a lot of laughs. In this photo Drake entertains a volunteer during a holiday party corporate magic show in Tillsonburg Ontario.
Toronto Magician Timothy Drake performing in Tillsonburg Ontario
Toronto MagicianTimothy Drake prides himself on making a magical connection with those who attend his magic shows in Toronto, London, Stratford, the GTA or any other city in Ontario where he performs at corporate and special events. Drake is an illusionist in the Toronto area who performs at banquets and award shows as after dinner entertainment.
Guests enjoy talking magic with Drake after the shows.
During the summer City Tv in Toronto held a viewer appreciation day and asked me to perform. My segment aired very early in the morning on Breakfast Television in front of a live crowd at Dundas Square in Toronto so I arrived a bit before the sun came up to be ready for the show.
Thanks to the fine people at Rogers and City Tv for this great opportunity. It was a blast.
Magician Timothy Drake performs for City Tv in Toronto
This picture was taken in about 1996. Canadian Icon and figure skater Elvis Stojko agreed to let me levitate him for a publicity shot this was way before Youtube folks ) to be used for an upcoming fundraiser. He was certain a good sport to do so. I have to laugh when I look at the old tux I performed in then. That was before I adopted the more gothic tux that created the Timothy Drake audiences see now.
Elvis Stojko is levitated by Magician Timothy Drake