(Romany, aka Romany, the Magical Mistress of Ceremonies, www.romanymagic.com ,is a British female stage magician working a quarter of the year on cruise ships and the rest in cabaret, theater and private performances. This article, part one of two, blends several of Romany’s prior publications in Vanish.)
For the past twenty years, my dream has been to become a great performer of magic.
Colin Powell reminds us that a dream doesn’t become reality by magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.
Jeff McBride stresses that to become reality, dreams must have deadlines.
Henry Moore, the English sculptor said, “The secret to a happy life is that you should have something to strive towards that you are passionate about… AND that you never achieve.”
Well, I’m passionate about my dream and while I may not have succeeded in reaching it, let me tell you about a few of my pursuits that I have followed with absolute consistency.
To state the obvious, I am a female professional magician. This affords me no professional uniqueness, except I will probably be the only female booked on the bill at any magic convention. Female magi are as varied as all of you reading this. From Suzanne to Melinda, Catherine James in Oz to Connie Boyd in Canada, and Jade to Billie the Kid, there are more differences than similarities.
In this article, I will of course share many scintillating and salacious feminine magical secrets too, such as corsets, frilly knickers, thongs, secret hiding places, and even bosoms!!!…. In case you suddenly perked right up and started paying proper attention, the last sentence was just a big fat teasing lie.
Though I make no claim whatsoever about my prowess as a magician, I do admit that I am passionately trying to get to be the best performer I can, and have been aiming to perform that ‘Dream Show’ for the past 20 years. I also keep in mind that no matter how loud the applause or how smoothly I make that particularly difficult twiddly move with the secret rubber band, when I leap off this earthly diving board to take a place in the stars above, my wonderful workshop of handmade props, carefully worked scripts and beautiful costumes will simply be a pile of useless detritus to be sold at the next Magic Circle, which puts it all into perspective.
Here I am in brief. I’m a professional magician/entertainer working a third of the year with a solo stage show on cruise ships and the rest of the year in theaters, corporate cabarets and private parties. I started learning magic 20 years ago and hope for another productive 30 years, heading towards being an eccentric old bat with great costumes & original stage routines that feature strong magic. I hope my magic will be strong enough that the audience will over-look their prejudice against the unusual figure of an older female performer and be seduced into a haze of wonder and laughter. Role models: Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Jane Russell (Some like it hot), Rosalind Russell (Gypsy), Shirley Maclaine, Agnes Moorhead (the mother in Bewitched). That’s the plan I live in Brighton, England in my house called the “Sequin Starship.” That’s not a joke. As magicians, we say things, whether they are true or not. “There is nothing up my sleeve…This is an empty box… ” So if I say I’m a Diva of Magic and l Iive in a Sequin Starship, dare you say that I don’t?
When I was 30, (just last week, cue laughter…), I realized that I had to choose between starting a family and following my dream of creating/performing a stage act. At the bottom of a London tube escalator, I reasoned that if I had children and didn’t have an act, I would resent the children and have to lock them in the rat infested cellar while I practiced but if I managed to create a magic act but no children that would be OK. By the time I’d got to the top I’d decided in favor of magic. It’s a choice I notice most other female pro magicians have made. Cheaper this way anyway. So much quieter… Kinder to the rats too.
It’s probably a good idea to have a plan. So this is my new plan for 2016. For starters… I do a 5 min silent act with birdcages, rings & pink stuff. I’ve been developing it for the last 8 years but it’s not ‘there‘ yet. I want it to be at the level of an internationally desired silent act so I’ve decided to set myself the goal of performing it on Le Cabaret Plus Grand du Monde (see Youtube). This is a show filmed in Paris where 5 min cabaret acts are filmed in a very elegant environment. When Boris Wild encouraged me to do this last year, I replied that this silent act wasn’t good enough. It isn’t…yet. But without a goal, it won’t ever be. It needs rehearsal, direction, polish, thought… more thought.
In a follow-up article, I will share with you my rocky road to magic competitions. I never had any real thought of winning competitions. They were merely a means to forcing myself to stay on task and meet deadlines for improving my act. Not-so-incidentally, my pursuit nearly killed a spectator, but that’s a story for part two.