When I travel I like to meet with magicians in the city I’m performing in. I love jamming magic tricks and hanging out with other magicians. When I meet up with magicians I frequently get asked about flying with you show.
There are a few schools of thought with this:
- Create a show that fits in your carry on luggage: I have mixed feelings on this. If you are designing a show simply because they take up a small space, are you fulfilling your artistic vision? I’ve seen very few of these “carry on” shows that I felt really played big.
- Check the luggage with your show props: This is what I do. I carry on essential props, and things that are valuable (like microphones). This allows me to have a show that fills the stage and my vision for the show much better.
If you are checking your show, a great resource is the TSA’s “Ask TSA” facebook page.
- Ship the show ahead: This is probably the best option. However it does require you to have two show set ups. One that can be in transit and another you are using while the first is en route to it’s destination. The bonus of this is if this shipment gets delayed, you can always take the show that wasn’t shipped.
All of the options have their pluses and minuses, and there isn’t a choice that’s 100% the best for every situation.
I know I’m taking a little bit of risk by checking the “meat” of my show, however that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’m also able to locally source a show. For example I have a 25 min stand up set I can do with a deck of cards. It’s not what I want my show to be, but if my luggage gets lost, I can do it. Add a piece of rope, scissors, markers and a pad of paper and I’ve got a 35-40 min show that I can do with locally sourced props.
What it all really comes down to is the level of risk you are willing to take. There’s no right or wrong answer.