OPINION: The Sue Pollard Syndrome

OPINION: The Sue Pollard Syndrome
It is very easy to adopt a character when we perform our magic, after all Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin did write, “A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician”. Didn’t he?

Don’t worry he did, but it is always lifted and taken out of context, he was not advocating that we should be acting out a part, a role or pretending to be someone/ something we are not.

When we first start performing, we quite rightly start by mimicking our heroes, this is the basis of “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon. We admire these people and their performances and their influence on us is very strong and undeniable. However we must eventually move away from their shadow, this can be hard as having a character when performing gives us a layer of armour.

No one goes to see a magician perform because he does his tricks the same way as everyone else. To be loved and respected for your magic, you need to be different from everyone else. Luckily, we are all individuals, we are naturally different from each in very way, how we look, how we feel, what we think our beliefs the list is endless.

How do we play ourselves? Simply concentrate throughout your day on who you are, how you treat objects, treat people, the things that you like and dislike. Once you have learnt your attitude to life and its surroundings bring that into your magic and your performances.

Are you careless and messy or neat bordering OCD. Do you enjoy teasing people, always find the funny in situations or take things seriously, patient or quick tempered? There is so much grey area in between strong feelings too that can be adopted and are interesting to witness.

Be honest, the truth is always far more fascinating than a lie, it is nuanced and interesting and reveals far more about you. And that is what an audience wants, the true you.

With confidence you may start to exaggerate the bits of you like the most and fingers crossed you become the best version of you.

As encouragement to perform as yourself rather than a character, let me point you to Sue Pollard. Dear poor Sue is forever stuck living her life as the ditsy and frankly irritating Peggy from Hi-Di-Hi. We would be disappointed if she dropped the mask even for the moment as revealed to us a clever, talented actress underneath. She is trapped, don’t let that happen to you.
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