From time to time parents ask about doing a birthday party magic show outdoors. When the air is warm and the sun is bright, I understand the motivation to have a show outdoors. Besides, it reduces the level of mayhem a herd of young party goers will cause within your well kept home. And, let’s not forget that not all homes have space enough to feel comfortable with a big group of kids wandering around.
And then there’s the elephant in the room….drum roll please…. Covid-19. So until this situation has lessened that’s a concern as well. For a deeper discussion on hosting kids birthday parties in the age of Covid-19, see our related blog post.
With all of that said, I can do an outdoor show, but there are some strong reasons why I ask parents to have and indoor magic show instead. In order for the kids to get the most enjoyment from a show, we need to minimize distractions. Which distractions you ask?
Insects: There are mosquitoes, and ants, and other creepy crawlers that decide your kids look like a feast.
Animals: Outdoors, there are squirrels on the fence, and the next door neighbor’s dog barking at all of the kids.
Neighborhood noises: Behind you is the neighbor who decided you party would be a great time to mow the lawn and run the weed-eater.
Weather: It’s too hot, or too cold, or the wind is blowing over my props, or the sun is in the kids eyes, or my eyes. Then there’s that surprise rain cloud that perfectly targets your yard and leaves props and people soggy.
Ground conditions: the ground is not level so my prop stand wants to tip over. The ground is damp and is thus uncomfortable for the kids to sit right in front of me. (chairs for a kids magic show is a nightmare… trust me). Sitting on the floor (carpet?) in your home is more comfortable for the kids…translation… they pay attention better.
Proximity: Comedy works best when people are close together. Outdoors, kids feel like they can spread out more. That’s bad for comedy. Laugher is contagious and when they are huddled closer together, they feed off of each other’s energy.
Communication: The walls of a room help contain and amplify voices. Outside, it is harder to hear each other. When I, a kid, or a parent says something funny then it is more likely that everyone hears and enjoys it in a shared laugh. It’s just harder to hear the small voices of kids outdoors.
Confession time: It’s easier for me. I don’t have to run long extension cords to reach power for the PA system. Outdoor shows call for more amplification also. I’m not sweating profusely and forced to change shirts for the show that I may have booked right after your show. My props and stand stay cleaner. I don’t have to spend extra time cleaning dust, dirt and grass off of my cases after they’ve been on the ground in your yard.
I have performed for over 10 thousand kids at nearly a thousand magic shows. In my early years of performing I did a number of outdoor shows. Then I began to see the issues that I outlined above. Kids and parents both enjoy a show best when it is treated like live theater and held indoors.
If you still want to do the show outdoors, then let me know and I’ll plan accordingly and make it Kidrageously Funny.
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