First off, I take issue with the assumption that magic is all about being fooled. While that is a large part of the performance, it is not the end all and be all of a magic show. Just like the old saying, “It’s the singer, not the song”, a good performer can be very entertaining with any trick, even very basic ones that most people know. The cups and balls and the Chinese linking rings have been around for over two thousand years, but are still performed regularly all over the world. While the surprise and mystery of the effect can be a big part, the presentation of those effects can be just as important (or more so, depending on whom you ask).
However, to answer the question, when I watch another magician, I think I enjoy it on another level. I love seeing how the magician does what they do. Sure, I might be aware of the methods to achieve the illusion, but I enjoy seeing how the performer gets the steps required done. I usually compare it to dancing. We all see the steps the dancer is making, but it’s how they do it that keeps us watching. I love watching the gracefulness of some performers. I love seeing how and when some performers misdirect the audience. On that note, I like seeing different methods of getting the steps done and comparing it to how I would do it. There have been plenty of effects that I have looked at and thought that I couldn’t fool anyone with them, only to see a performer do the same effect and listen to the collective gasps from the audience at all the right moments. I love seeing someone do something I thought was impossible.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy any performance. As a magician watching another magician, it can be a different experience, but it’s rarely a dull one.
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