On Wednesday, 17 April I had the honour and privilege to perform at a function for Chayeinu. Chayeinu is a project housed in Israel and takes children 18 and under, who are terminally ill with cancer to South Africa. I had trouble trying to find a website with information on this, so if anyone knows anything else, please post it in the comments as I am very interested to know more about this.
These kids spend their days in a hospital bed, in chemotherapy (which is very taxing on any human let alone on children). The project provides each child with a buddy – a young adult (in their 20s) – Jewish but just as some of the kids aren’t religious, the buddies aren’t all religious.
I performed for Chayeinu in 2011 and it was such a humbling experience. I did a short show (3 parlour effects) and met some kids who had such high aspirations. They wanted to be doctors and musicians, therapists and lawyers etc. What amazing dreams. This year when I was contacted to perform, without hesitation I said: “What an honour! If I have plans I will cancel them!” I was so excited! I thought that this was the perfect time to try out new material that I have been working on for a few months.
Arriving to the function I was overwhelmed by so many kids of all ages. Some in wheelchairs, some with bandages and some with a shaking-disability. But what was so crazy was seeing their smiles. These kids looked so happy. They were with their buddies, friends and their buddies, and some Cape Town peeps enjoying a delicious meal before the entertainment.
The group are from Israel – naturally the kids speak Hebrew. The buddies were of American origin so they spoke English but I had a problem. I can read Hebrew and speak it “okayish” but the level of my understanding and of my speaking for that matter is incredibly low. So I have 20 Israeli kids watching me perform, but the language barrier made it difficult for me to explain what I was doing and hard for them to communicate with me. My wife said I shouldn’t have spoken much because my magic is very visual. Next time I will speak less.
So onto the magic: I opened with an Ambitious Card Routine because I wanted a WOW effect. However I realised a WOW effect in English doesn’t necessarily mean a WOW effect in another language. I probably shouldn’t have spoken so much during that effect. I moved onto a new effect that I have been practicing – The Matrix. It basically is a 4 coin assembly under impossible conditions – very visual and very magical. That effect I realised is angle-sensitive and so some kids to my left “caught” me out but because it was in Hebrew I had no idea what they were saying but the buddies were telling the kids they must enjoy it and even though they can see how it is done – they must keep it a secret.
I did the cups and balls which went down really well with lemons as my final loads. I did a nice sucker-effect with sponge balls that also was great! I did a colour changing deck, any language loves that effect! Triumph also went down well. I ended with a trick from David Roth Coins to Glass – a new one I have been working on and that got the best reactions. I had no idea how huge it packs! The magician makes 4 coins travel by magic from one hand to a glass. Pure magic.
During the show there were these 2 kids – Matan and Shachar (nicknamed Shoko) who bought those little magic boxes from the guys at the Waterfront and were asking me how I did my magic. I shared with them how to do a standard colour change. They were so excited. Last time I performed for Chayeinu I gave 2 kids (my “favourites”) each a green sponge ball. I told those boys that the colour change is a very difficult move and requires some skill but they were adamant to learn it. I love their dedication and desire; qualities that us adults sometimes lack in our lives when we’re caught up with the daily activities.
After the show some buddies picked up guitars and were singing and dancing with the kids, putting them on their shoulders and bonding with them.
This was such an emotional and heart-warming experience. We are so lucky to have all our body parts working as they should. It’s these moments that make me so thankful and appreciative for what I have and the ability that I have to put smiles on people’s faces.
Here you can see me doing the cups and balls. The kids really enjoyed it!
This experience made me realise that being a magician is pretty darn awesome – making people laugh and smile. But you don’t have to be a magician to do that. Just going up to someone and waving a “hello” or giving a smile will make that person feel appreciative – ESPECIALLY these teens who are cognisant of the fact that their lives are different from those on TV and around them. So next time you have an opportunity to smile at someone or greet them – just do it. It won’t hurt you – only empower you and I suppose empowering oneself opens the door for opportunities to empower others.