The other day I was taking a shower and it hit me that with the success of Shin Lim on America’s Got Talent the traditional “manipulation act has changed. It’s no longer split fans and billiard balls, it’s at a table, with a video camera and projection to a screen.
The new stage manipulator won’t be loading up a jacket with doves, they’ll be loading up a table. I think this a step forward for magic. The last time I saw a manipulation act was on the Illusionists tour and he was good, but producing cards really felt dated. We’ve done this before, and the audience has seen it before.
While I personally don’t do a traditional stage manipulation act (I did do a manip act when I was younger), this still does affect me. Every magician needs to be aware of the changing times. If you choose to not keep up with the times, you need to be aware of that you aren’t.
Also being aware of the how magic is changing even if you choose to not change with it, keeps it in your head. From a creativity standpoint you may see something a year from now that will spark an idea for a modern manipulation act.