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nunusmith
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I just did a show the other day at a large arena for a sports event, with a crowd of about 2000 in attendance. I was called two days before the event and asked if I would perform as the previous entertainment had canceled. I have been performing close up magic for most of my magical career. The promoter of the event had seen me perform my close up a few months earlier and had been impressed with my style.

when he called I explained to him that I was a close up artist and did not have any large scale illusions to perform for an arena. He told me that this would not be a problem as they would have camera crews there and jumbotrons that they could transmit video too.plus they would also have a sound system with wirless microphones. I have a very strong multiplying bottle routine that I do that has always received a very strong and positive audience response, I have had several standing ovations with it. I explained this to the promoter, that the routine was dependent on patter and not music and that it was approximatly six minutes long, he said it would be fine as I had 8 minutes. I was to meet with the sound crew and camera crew at the arena three hours before the game. I arrived at the designated time, but no sound crew or camera crew in site. We asked around who we should talk to but no one seemed to know and they where all extremely busy preparing for the game.

to make a long story short, we didn't end up seeing the camera crew until 45 minutes before the start of the game and they were busy setting up and had little time to discuss what we needed for our 8 minute routine. we were promised that the roaming camera would tape from in front of our table so that the routine would be transmitted to the Jumbotron and all would see. we were told to just go to mid court and face the home side of the court. the mic that we were given was indeed cordless however it was a full size mic and to make matter worse, the only thing I had to hold it up with was a boom stand, which was mostly in the way during the routine.

I did my hour of strolling magic at the entrance of the arena as the fans came in, which went very well. after the game started we waited for half time, which we were told we would have 8 minutes to perform. 2 minute before half time we were told we would go on after the dancers did their number, this was odd as the halftime break was only 10 minutes. the dancers did their routine which lasted approximately 5 minute which only left us 5 minute for our routine which lasts nearly 6 and a half minutes, I had to be off the court before the team came back out. we rushed onto the court and I quickly set up the mike and lunched into the routine, trying to decide on the fly what to cut out so that I wouldn't go over the 5 minute mark. I lunched into my routine a very lukewarm response from the audience, by the end I had mostly what seemed silence, I did see some nodding heads and smiles with a smattering of cheers, not the response that I was expecting.I finished the set with seconds to spare with my customary toast at the end as I pour liquid from the final bottle. needless to say I felt crushed when I walked off the arena floor. This effect had always received strong reaction from audiences as large as 300 to 400 in the past, laughter, cheering, clapping etc.

after the game I had many audience members come up to me and told me how much they had enjoyed the effect, especially with all the bottles that kept multiplying, however they could not hear my patter as the microphone kept cutting in and out and crackling as I spoke, apparently the sound system had gone on the fritz as I started to do my routine. Some of the arena crew also told me the enjoyed the show but also had difficulty hearing me. this at least in part explained the crowds reaction.

I felt a little better after this however, I felt that I had not given the performance that the audience deserved and that I didn't do justice to our art.I emailed the promoter the following day and explained what happened and that I would be happy to return to give another performance with a large scale illusion set to music and that I would do this at no charge to make up for the show that I feel went poorly. I have not received a response and am not sure how to proceed from here.

I hope that I haven't ruined the chance for other magicians as well as myself to perform in these types of venues in the future.
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