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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Performing for deaf kids (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

khuber
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SLC Utah
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I am going to do a magic safety assembly for deaf childern in September. Has anyone worked with deaf kids before and how did it go. I will have an interpreter helping out. Smile
Chrystal
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Canada/France
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Hi Khuber,

One person whom has a wealth of information is a fellow Café member - [Jaxon]

He's an extremely talented magician and being deaf himself he can give you some valuable feedback.I'm sure he wouldn't mind as he's always been willing to help.Perhaps PM him or if I see him first I'll have him contact you.

This question was asked before in this forum so also check back a few pages and I'm sure you'll find it.

Best of luck!
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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I am hard of hearing myself and wear hearing aids to assist me. I am also a magician and do most of my shows for children.

I find that all children love to be entertained. If you keep it visual, magic is a universal language and the kids will be able to follow you.

I would also make sure that you slow your movements a little and use more pantomime in your show so that they can get a better idea for your thoughts.

If you do need to talk, talk a bit slower then you would normally do and make sure to speek at them and not with a turned head. This will help the interpreter as well as those children that can read lips.

Most of all, treat them like you would anyone else. They are great kids and love magic just like everyone else. Go out there and have a lot of fun.

If you would like other suggestions, please feel free to PM me.
Kyle Peron

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khuber
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Thanks!!! Smile
magic4u02
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You are most welcome. I hope this information is of help to you.
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Jaxon
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Thanks so much for the kind words Chrystal. Smile

magic4u02 gave some good advice. Just remember, deaf kids can be brats too.. lol

Anyway, to add to the advice already given. Try to time the key moments of an effect to happen while no words are being spoken. Let me share an example of this. Let's say your doing a torn and restored newspaper. Often the magician would say some line as the paper falls open. Instead, say the line - wait a beat - then restore the paper. This will give the interpreter a moment. It won't need to be a long moment. in interpreter are very fast and the kids will read what they say in a flash. So try not to look like you are waiting. Just wait that beat.

A good interpreter will know where to be. They'll find a spot where everyone can see you and them and just stay there. Try not to interfere with this position.

The most important tip I can give is to feel comfortable yourself. Know these tips but at the same time almost forget them (Ron, Ron, What are you confusing me for? lol). Seriously though, have fun and do your thing. They know how to be deaf kids in a world full of people who can hear (You don't want to know some of the funny sign language made to put down hearing people... Smile ).

Speaking of that. It's a good idea to learn to sign your name. You don't have to but your name is only a few letters to learn. It's just a powerful thing for the kids to see "The Magician" say something in there language.
Also know this. If the kids wave there hands in the air and wiggle their fingers. Don't freak out. That's how deaf people sometimes applaud.

They'll love you. Live entertainment like this is a rare thing in most kids life's. Even more so with deaf kids. There faces will light up as soon as they know a magician is there.

I'm sure you'll have a great time and so will the kids. Be sure to let us know how it goes.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
wassabi_87
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moscow, idaho
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maybe come up with a mime typ of rutine, these are hilarios even if you can hear.
like they said, magic is a universal language, try to avoid tricks like two card monte, that you need to explaine as you go along, (e.g. "so if i have the ace of hearts, which card do you have?") etc etc good luck!
bike during the day,
do magic at night,
and very early the next morning,
homework.
khuber
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I'll let you all know how it goes, the date is September 26. Wassabi_87 I do have a rope routine that I don't even talk at all during the routine I will definately be doing it.

Thanks again!!
Smile
magic4u02
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Jaxon gave some really great advice and brings up a good point. Deaf people when watching a magic show need to have the interpreter in front and in clear view of them so they can read the signals.

But, keep in mind that you do not want the interpretor too far too one side. You want to try and make it so that the kids can see the interpretor and the magician in the same line of sight.

The reason for this should be quite obvious. The kids can not look at two places at one time. If they are looking at the interprtor too much, they may miss something you are doing.

Jaxon brings up a great point about pausing. When performing an effect like the restored newspaper, puase and let the magic happen before speaking again. This way the kids will focus on you.

Just something to keep in mind. Hope it helps.
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Jon Gallagher
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My wife is a sign language interpreter and has done stage plays in the past. The interpreter is always on the side of the stage, usually in front of the curtain, and if possible, all deaf people are seated in that area.

At our wedding, we had an interpreter because of all our deaf friends, and again, the interpreter was off to the side and the Deaf were seated together... not to discriminate but to facilitate.

When we performed for a Deaf function, she interpreted for me, but she was off to the side. We had to pause a lot so that I wasn't doing magic while she was signing, and so that she wasn't signing when I was doing something. It was a challenge, but it went over well.

Follow Jaxon's advice and you should be alright. By all means, though, learn to tell them your name. Once you win them over, it's all downhill from there.

Break a leg!

-Jon
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
magic4u02
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Jon:
Thanks for the wonderful advice. I love your point about learning your name in sign langauge. That is a great way to show that you casre and that you are thinking of their needs. Learning to sign the alphabet is very easy with a little bit of practice.
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Ron Giesecke
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Kyle,

I am an interpreter--and, I do shows for deaf children(and adults).

These situations are where I really realized that many routines in our arsenals are entirely held together by the premises and patter that we use; once this element is no longer possible, many of these things either fall apart entirely, or lose sufficient strength.

Other routines, like the cups and balls for instance, need a complete reworking, as both hands are compromised nearly 100% of the time.

While I am an interpreter, I use very basic signs with both adults and children, as they are only concerned with seeing something impossible. Someone already intimated that a mime act may be in order, and I agree, as mimes can sell their point with expression and body language (my cups and balls routine's misdirection lies in my own looks of consternation, as the balls are never where they should be.)

American Sign Language(the colloquial language of the deaf) carries the wonderful distinction of using expression as qualifiers. The eyebrows are the literal punctuation of their language. This is good news for you, and I'll try to explain why;

I suggest that you learn a few basic signs(i.e., Dissappear, switch, both, appear again, fly, wierd, cool) along with abbreviated names of the cards(this would be hard to show you, but believe me, the deaf are generally tolerant of using things you establish with them at the time, as long as you consistently do it throughout).

I'll now attempt to explain how I perform "Doc Daley's Last Trick" for the deaf(using Gregory Wilson's light and heavy premise)

I (supposedly)lay down the Ace of Spades, and sign "heavy."

I then shove the "other" card crossways underneath, and sign "Light". I pause and sign "switch cool?"(this is done with the eyebrows raised the same way you would if trying to elicit a "yes or no" response. there is no need to sign "wouldn't it be cool if these two cards switched?"

They are completely privvy to the plot here.

I Make the revelation, let them react (usually the same way hearing people do; they want to see it again)

I go into phase two, signing "Time slow OK?"(this time slower. Again, your facial expressions make this smooth as silk).

I Do the usual second phase, but I act like I accidentally see my own (allegedly red) cards, and sort of jump at the fact that they are black. I look both ways sheepishly, and motion for them to turn over their cards. This routine is literally a killer for deaf people.

I perform a two ball sponge ball routine with only mime, and no sign.

Hope this helps, and if there's anything else I can do (and you've gotten stellar advice from all in this thread), let me know,

Ron
Jaxon
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Yes, Ron (The other Ron.. Smile Has some good points. I'm sure he'd agree with me that learning ASL could be very beneficial to being a magician as well. Even if just becoming accustomed to talking with your facial expressions.
You can find Sign language books all over the place but many of them aren't very good. You'd find a lot of what's actually called "Sign English" in them. There's is a big difference between the two. Many of the hand shapes are the same but how you word things are different. Ron pointed out some examples above.
It's kind of funny to me. I actually laughed as I read the above post from Ron. Not because the information was funny, just funny to me. I became deaf at a later age. I use to be able to hear a little better. Good enough to hear voices if they where loud enough (In other words, I've always been "HOH" hard of hearing, but I became deaf about 5 years ago). What was funny to me is how often while I'm typing that I unconsciously switch from English to ASL. I'd look back at what I typed and laugh because instead of asking "Where did you go" for example, I typed "Where go you?".. Smile

A good ASL book will cost quite a bit of money, but they go into a lot of detail on facial expression. You'll find pages full of pictures or raised and lowered Eyebrows and other facial expressions.


I'm sorry. I'm getting off topic here. But to bring it back to the topic at hand. Facial expressions can say quite a bit. If you ever want to sharpen your facial expression skills, a good ASL book could help. This would be beneficial to everyone, not just deaf audiences.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
On 2003-07-16 13:20, Jaxon wrote:
Facial expressions can say quite a bit. If you ever want to sharpen your facial expression skills, a good ASL book could help. This would be beneficial to everyone, not just deaf audiences.

Ron Jaxon


Amen to that. I think back to that famous Cardini clip(the one where the cards keep showing up in his hands--seemingly out of his control). Now that's communicating the message.

ASL is truly a wonderful thing. My personality still translates(in other words, my deaf friends are as aware of my goofiness as my hearing ones), and my sense of humor seems to make an almost seamless transition as well.

--Ron (you name what?) Giesecke Smile
magic4u02
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Great post and even better reponses. Thanks to all.

Like Jaxon, I have always been Hard of hearing and did not realize how bad it was until I was in my mid 20's. I now wear hearing aids all the time and it is a great help to me.

I can totally relate to him finding humor in it, as I often find myself reading people's lips even if I can perfectly hear them. I just got used to doing it so often.

The bottom line I think is to treat them like anyone else. Do nopt look down towards them and do not feel like they have to be spoken to like children.

If you take the time out to slow down your speech and to use more visual magic, then you will certainly be ahead of the game. Magic, after all, is a great visual and universal language. =)
Kyle Peron

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Dynamike
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I did a few shows for the Boy scouts of America "Blue and Gold Banquets." An interpreter did help participate.

Before you start, talk to the interpreter about the best side to be on. Discuss a few other things with him/her also so everything will work well and be more understanding to the audience.
Jaxon
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I was just surfing around and I stumbled across this little write up. It's not very long but it does point out some of the uniqueness of sign language. I also feel it points out some of the ways that ASL can benefit a magician. Just by understanding these things. You really don't have to know sign language to communicate this way so they really don't have to know how to sign. It's the logic of the language that I feel is universal.

Now, if you perform for a deaf group you can use some of the points that are brought up in this article. How to visually stress points is the important thing.

Anyway, here's the link. It's not all there is to it of course but it kind of highlights some of the benefits and how you can use them. just thought you'd maybe want to take a look.

Click here to check it out.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
magic4u02
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Ron:

Thanks so much for sharing that link with us. Good information and we may all learn from it.
Kyle Peron

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khuber
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Thanks to everyone for the advise. I had the show on Friday and everything went great!!! I only really had to change one thing but it stil worked out great.
I even managed to make it on the news. The local news stations were there and they chose to put parts of my show on their story!

Thanks again! Smile
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