It could not be denied that the magicians are the star of magic shows. They have the charisma and the skills to make audience members believe in magic and amaze them with the brilliance of their illusions. However, the magic show would not be complete without the presences of the magician’s assistants. Magician’s assistants are often imagined as beautiful women dressed in sparkling attire. Although sometimes, men too can also fulfill the role of magician’s assistants. They are an essential and iconic part of the magic act. Aside from looking glamorous, there are a lot of crucial tasks that magician’s assistants are expected to perform to make sure that the show is a success.
The Magician’s Helping Hand
From their name, a magician’s assistant plays a significant role in assisting the magician in performing the magic trick. A magician could do many illusions and tricks in his solo act. However, the scale, number, and success of the performance increases when more brains and hands are working on the show. Like how most people perceive their role, magician’s assistants provide helpful distractions to help the magician perform the trick. This could be done by redirecting the spectators’ attention or buying more time for the trick’s preparations to be completed. To succeed in this, a lot of magician’s assistants are trained to perform professionally to entertain the audience – many assistants are great dancers.
Secret Masters of Illusion
Although a lot of people expect magician’s assistants only to provide distractions, there are actually a lot of cases where the magic trick becomes successful mainly through the efforts of the assistant. This expectation actually plays into the craft of magic shows by the reverse actually happening: the magician is the distraction while the assistant performs the trick or illusion. An example of this is the Zig Zag Girl, a classic 1960s illusion, which was a creation of Robert Hardin. This magic trick is a variation on the famous “sawing the woman in half” illusion. In the Zig Zag Girl, Hardin saws his assistant into three parts, and the middle section is removed from the others as if there is nothing inside. In fact, in this case, the magician is the distraction while the most significant part of this illusion is the magician’s assistant who is an expert contortionist.
The Unsung Confederates
Magicians sometimes use confederates in order to do magic tricks. Unlike the glamorously dressed magician’s assistants that perform on stage, confederates are assistants that appear to be a simple spectator or someone who is innocently part of the audience. The confederate is a secret accomplice instead of being a part of the magic act. An example would be David Blume’s card trick performed in a restaurant. Blume successfully makes the card chosen by an audience member appear on the opposite side of the window of the restaurant. The success of the illusion is because of a hidden confederate who can see the audience member’s card and slaps the correct card up in the middle of distracting the audience.