Monday, March 19, 2012

The Magician And The Prestige

“Watch!” he says…a magician who is going to show his audience a trick. He doesn’t pull a rabbit out of a hat or pop flowers out of the end of his wand. It’s usually much simpler than that. And yet, it’s no less fascinating…maybe BECAUSE it’s much simpler.

He takes the stage animatedly, his face beaming with a secret he can barely hold any longer. But there’s got to be a flourish, the essential three acts. And so he proceeds to The Pledge. Quite the storyteller, he builds the anticipation well, with expressions and gesticulations. The audience is already leaning forward by the end of it. And he really calls them tricks, what he is going to show them. That's when he says, “Watch!”…once the stage is set.

Then he takes a mechanical contraption from the good old days, a technique if you may. And he proposes a harmless looking idea. He gives the contraption to the audience to work with while he takes the simpler tool. And as both work the tools simultaneously in The Turn, he suddenly jumps to The Prestige leaving the audience in wonder. It’s true that the idea is intuitive, simple beyond belief. But there still is a priceless look on their smiling faces.

Even if a felt-tip marker and a white board are the only props he will ever use on stage, he's probably one of the few who have understood that

the audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you can make them wonder, and then you...then you got to see something really special...you really don't know?...it was...it was the look on their faces…

And that it applies to classrooms as much as to magic shows.

2 Thinkers Pondered:

Harjeet said...

Hi Anupama, this is a lovely crisp piece of guidance for teachers of today. Hope some practising teachers read and follow it. Am forwarding your post to some teachers I know:-)

Anupama said...

Wow, thank you Harjeet. It means a lot that you sent it to some teachers already but really, isn't it true that we always remember those better who treated teaching like magic than a profession? :)