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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Stopping a Show (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kid iowa
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Oklahoma
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Read on another board about a magician that had to stop a birthday show because of the kids acting out. From what he wrote, there was only 1 other adult besides him and about 20 kids (ages 8-11), and the chaperone did nothing to stop the kids from shooting silly string at the magician, grabbing props, yelling over his patter etc. Has anyone else had horror stories like this that made it so bad that you had to close up shop?
Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile...can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served in the United States Navy." J.F.K.
Jon Gallagher
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Elmwood, Illinois
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Well, there was that time when I was performing outside on a stage for a town festival and the civil defense sirens went off telling us that a tornado warning had just been posted for our area..... that show stopped rather abruptly.

We had pleaded with the organizers to either move the festivities inside the high school (which was just blocks away), but they insisted that since it wasn't even raining, we'd be fine. If we refused to perform, we wouldn't be paid.

When the sirens went off, all 20 people in the audience headed for their cars. I think I beat them to mine.
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Jewls
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Michigan-USA
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Crowd control is part of our job. Let them know right from the start what you expect of them. There are several posts here on this subject.
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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I think we need to analyse here whether the show being performed was suitable, and not too young for this age group— how many were boys— did the magician have voice amplification etc.?

Have many times felt like shutting up in 25 years, but never have. In this age group have had an 11-year old boy go through a plate glass door whilst dancing, had a group of kids pull a radiator off a wall and start a flood! Thankfully "England's green and pleasant land" does not have tornados!!

But at the end of the day I must agree with Jewls really!
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Jewls hits it on the head, you shouldn't expect the parents to control the kids, it's part of our job. Unless it's just the one kid playing up and despite all your attempts to control him he's still a problem I would expect his mum if she's there to have words. But only if he doesn't respond to all the usual tried and trusted methods, and I've got a big bag of different methods before I get to that stage.

I've got one on Thursday for 15-20 kids mainly boys all 8, so I expect to work hard there to keep them in check. Girls are so much easier at parties, they just want to have fun.
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NJJ
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I try and get as few distractions as possible with my kids' show. No food or silly string or blowers or any of that stuff during the performance.

I hate when kids get up and wander around during the show as if you are a TV show.
DanTheMagicMan
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Edgewater, Maryland USA
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I had to stop a show for a different reason: a boy in the audience started choking on something he ate. His mother did the Hiemlich maneuver, which worked. The kid was fine, but after all the emotion and excitement and after the kids received an impromptu tour of a real ambulance at the party, it just did not seem appropriate to finish the show.

I usually put a tape line down on the ground to show kids the boundary of my "stage". When picking assistants, I always say I am looking for someone sitting in their seat and raising their hand. I am sure there are other crowd control ideas.
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popsy magic
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Stopping a show has only happened once for me and believe me this kid was NASTY !
I was performing for 37 kids at a carnival. Needless to say you always get one vilain or show off. I was half way performing Stratosphere, passing the balls to the crowd when a kid of 8 yrs decided to viciously throw the red ball at my face, laughing at the same time. I immediately turned to the supervisor and asked for the kid to be removed from the premises or the show will halt and eventually end. The kid was escorted away with a lot of verbal from him. There is always someone be it parent, youth leader, supervisor who should be in charge of the kids behaviour. Please make sure you find out their name before you start the show. Just to be safe
macmagic
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MA
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I have only had to stop 1 show as well and there was only 1 more routine left, I was performingat an alternative school(in case you don't know this is a school for children with socila behavior problems or violence problems) any way show was going great then all of a sudden 2 kids started fighting.........im not talking about pushing and shoving I'm talking about hitting each other with chairs biting etc.
now I know that everyone says you should know how to control your audience which I do think is true but there are always going to be a few times when it is just out of your hands!
"Its a magic thing...........you wouldn't understand"
Daniel Faith
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Neenah, Wisconsin
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I give the children the magic show rules during the warm up.
I have never had any show that out of control but if I did I
would stop the show.
Daniel Faith
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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I stopped a show today, but not because of the kids -- it was because of the daycare teacher!

During my routine with my rabbit in the hat puppet (Benny the Bunny), the kids got so excited (about 20 3-5 year olds) that they literally stood to their feet and were jumping up and down, screaming things like, "The carrot's in the hat; I saw him take it; now it's in his hands; look Mr. Magician, look! It's back in the hat again!"

I was loving every second of it. Talk about crowd enthusiasm! I had planned to have them sit down again during a slow point in the routine, but I certainly wasn't about to curb their excitement at such a key point.

But one of the teachers thought otherwise. She thought the kids were yelling too much, and should all be sitting down (even though all the kids were staying on their side of the magic line). So she stands up directly in front of them, with her back to me, blocking my view of the kids. The kids are trying to look around her to see Benny, and I'm trying to maneuver around her so the kids can see. I tried telling her that it's ok; in fact, the other three teachers that were all sitting down were trying to tell her it was all ok, but nope, she had to have them sitting. So I had to stop the show for a moment until she finally succeeded.

Lesson learned: not all the show stoppers are the kids.

Brian
magic4u02
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I think it is also important that you let the adults or the teachers know up front what to expect from your show as well as what you expect from them and how you can help each other out to make for the best show experience possible. This way their are not as many unexpected surprises and you tend to get the help you need by simply ASKING upfront.

Kyle
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MarkTripp
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Yesterday, one of the little angels in a middle school shot my eye with a laser pointer.

That really hurt, messed my vision up for about an hour, and made life rough for me.

I said EXACTLY what happened, and said if the brave person with the laser would stand up, I'd like to put it up his rear end.

I finished the show....

...school called my office today and wants a refund because "I reacted in an inappropiate manner".

NOTHING about their nice little kids, whom they wouldn't search for the laser because "that would be offensive to too many students".

Beat that.....

Mark
magic4u02
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Mark:

I can understand about being upset as all magicians find themsleves in situations that they wish they were not in. We also may act out in a manner we wish we did not. It sometimes is hard to maintain our composure when situations arise.

Yes, the teachers should have checked for these things, Yes, they should have taken the child out when it happened etc. However, as an entertainer, we just can not allow ourselves to stoop to that level to say things directed at a child even though you are 100% right in doing so.

We are not there to discipline the kids. We are there to entertain them. With this in mind, the school should get a refund and an apology letter from you. I know it sounds wrong cause you were upset and angry with what happened. I would be to. But we are professionals and we get paid to act that way. As a professional who knows the importance of reputation and word of mouth, you simply can not afford to have your name take a bad rap. You may just have to bite your bottom lip on this one and give in a bit.

I am not saying you do not have a right to be angry. Hell, I would have been too. But, You can not jeaporidize a show or professionalism by stopping a show and saying what you said infront of the other kids. Regardless of how mad or angry you were, this is not the way to handle it. Yes, I personally would have been really really upset. But there are better ways to handle the situation without lashing out.

In my school performances or summer camp shows, I make it a point that their MUST be at least 2-3 adult supervisors at the show who will meet with me before the show and go over things with me. They will be my spotters and it is part of the contract agreement that they are there to help if a kid needs to go to the bathroom or if anyone gets unrully. They are there to help me to be able to continue to entertain. There is no reason why the magician should have to do this alone. By simply asking my clients, I usually do not have a problem with it.

Just my humble opinion is all. Once again I would have been mad to.

Kyle
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todsky
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Mark, I'd have to agree with Kyle's comments on your bad experience. The worst thing an entertainer can do is to "lose it". I would have just stated what had occured, as you did; this would have gotten the rest of the audience on your side. (Your retort line would have worked well at an adult show, though.)
When I am faced with unruly kid(s), if they don't desist I just put my arms up in the air as if I can't go on because of the disruption, and just stand there doing nothing. Sometimes I'll say "I guess we'll just have to wait until so-and-so is finished." It's only a few seconds before all the rest of the kids in the crowd start 'shh-ing" and berating the bad kid(s) for interrupting the show. Then I continue. So I find the audience themselves to be the most effective 'police'.
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RideorDie99
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I had a doosey last weekend... I was performing for a 9 year old birthday party and the most of the kids were acting out. Especially the girls. I think it's all about setting the rules in the beginning which I didn't do nor did I do the bribery thing such as, "If everyone sits down throughout the show and behaves. One of you will receive a magic trick" I will do that next time. But since I did not do that in the beginning.. I got hit with paper, with my own magic wand, I had rocks put in my jacket, water squirted down my pocket and had the props taken from my hands. I got practically MAULED by these kids. I basically just finished my show put a smile on my face. Did some close up for the adults who appreciated the magic, took my money and left I even sent a thank you email to the father who booked me. it's all about being professional till the very end.Well that's the life of a magician. I'll do a great show next time.
STOP DROP SHUT THEM DOWN AND OPEN UP SHOP
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Quote:
On 2005-05-25 12:05, RideorDie99 wrote:

I got hit with paper, with my own magic wand, I had rocks put in my jacket, water squirted down my pocket and had the props taken from my hands. I got practically MAULED by these kids.


Maybe have magician's insurance isn't always for the sake of the kids. Is there such a thing as "audience insurance"? Smile

Brian
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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Mark - I agree with others that your future with school shows depends very much on your ability not to lose it (at least verbally).

On the other hand, it's done now, and not only would I not refund one single cent, I'd advise them that they may very well be hearing from your insurance company and/or their attorneys and/or your attorney. Don't let them sleep easy - ordinarily I hate people who horribilize their modest injuries for profit, but the wimp principal is horribilizing the injury to his little darlings (for heaven's sake, just a tongue-lashing, and WELL WITHIN THE PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES of shooting a laser in someone's eye) so go ahead and join him in his escalation. He's blown the "offense" out of all proportion, so two can play that game - don't lie down for this sort of ridiculous over-response or there'll be no end to it. Meet him where he's coming from (demonstrate that as awful as he believes your words to have been, your injury was equally or more grave) and you may forestall some or all of any "bad rep" from this.

I am not suggesting that you actually sue, but I think you ought to get on the record the gravity of your injuury (potential or actual) - if you'd gone into the hospital, I guarantee that your insurance company would have been seeking recompense from the school's insurance company whether you agreed or not, and they'd likely win the fight.
Rimeister
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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I see where the above comment is coming from, but from my understanding principals talk with other school principals, and if word was spread that an entertainer was potentially considering suing a school over something that happened during his show, it might be hard to get work in the school system again, the schools may fear the consequences of what would happen if a student from their school pulled a similar stunt. It really is a brutal situation to be in.

But then again, perhaps I'm wrong.
rossmacrae
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Principals do indeed talk with other school principals - and there may be no "win" to the situation, because they're gonna say SOMETHING. Which would you rather have? "This magician cussed out the children, he doesn't behave at all properly that nasty man" or "this magician got hurt by one of the children and we almost got sued."

If school shows are a big part of your income, you may just have to live with "walking on eggs". But I don't care to do them anymore, after a similar incident (except I had less provocation) - a couple of goofuses were talking louder and louder and I did a few general "let's be quiets" which didn't work, and then "I'm sorry you guys couldn't follow what was going on because a couple of morons couldn't let you hear." Didn't point out WHICH morons, but later I heard that the schhol felt compelled to send a letter of apology home with everyone because that nasty magician called all the kids morons. Was I wrong? Maybe, I dunno.

They're through with me - I'm through with them - and besides, with diminished funds and the demands of "No Child Left Behind", there's not a school system around here that has either the time or the money to spend on a magic show (doesn't contribute as directly as - oh, say, a historical re-enactor or a free 'Ronald McDonald Says Nutrition is Fun' show - to the learning process, you know.)
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