Larry Hass Inspires Greater Magic Impact
“Performing Magic with Greater Impact” was the theme as Dr. Lawrence Hass lectured to the Dr. Richard Mossey IBM Ring 41 on February 4, 2016. A Standing Room Only crowd of members and guests attended the lecture, which was held at Big Guy’s Magic Shop in Pewaukee, WI. Dr. Hass is the Associate Dean of the McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas.
Larry is an extraordinary lecture. He explains not only what to do and how to do it, but equally important why an approach is taken. As a seasoned university professor who has uncoupled now from academia to become a full-time professional magician, his lecturing expertise is unparalleled. He knows that telling is not the same as teaching, an assumption made by too many magic lecturers. Rather, Larry teaches in a way that reaches out to audiences who hold differing learning styles. And equally important, he practices what he teaches.
Larry segmented his lecture, which was more of an Emerson-styled “you sit on one end of the log as I sit on the other end while we talk, into strategies for performing magic with greater impact for opening, middle, and ending effects. Each was illustrated with new and novel effects.
In his opening sequence, he produced a red silk handkerchief, a business card and a lit light bulb. Not-so-incidentally, the light bulb was quite bright and not the kind one finds in joke shops that is activated by touching a finger ringer to the base of the bulb. Larry explained that he does not instantly produce a handkerchief when he enters the stage, because the audience is not ready for it. Rather he believes it is better to let the audience get a feeling of who you are first. He also explained to his attentive audience that when he produces an object, many times he will use a three count beat. For example, when he produced the illuminated light bulb from a handkerchief he choreographed a three count beat of (1) Moving his arm into position, (2) Misdirection, and (3) Executing the production. In sum, Larry stresses that the beginning of your show should have strong and snappy magic.
Moving on, Larry emphasizes that the middle of your show should contain more texture by changing the props, trick dynamics, or duration. He said that each trick in the middle of your show should stay interesting, or strike a different mood that will result in different experiences for your audience. In other words, magicians should seek out middle tricks that generate different emotional experiences in the audience by telling a story or doing effects that have personal meaning.
Finally, Larry demonstrated many tricks and techniques that could be used to close a show. He advised us that whatever effects we chose to close a show, they should be technically invisible and be the pinnacle of your show construction. After all, the audience wants to see a magic show and not just a bunch of tricks strung together. By analogy, Larry observed that tricks in a magic show are like the “notes” in a musical composition. The cumulative effect of proper trick selection results in results in an orchestrated production that has an engaging dramatic curve leading to a crescendo.
While Larry did not “hawk” his magic products, they were available and considerable interest was shown in his latest book, Inspirations: Performing Magic with Excellence. It and his other magic products can been seen at http://www.theoryandartofmagic.com. All of his material feeds your head and your hands. The audience loved his lecture and only regret that the full lecture time disappeared too quickly!
Scott Edward Lane
Dr Richard Mossey IBM Ring 41