We had the opportunity to interview magician Roberto Cecchetto and talk to him about how magic is seen nowadays.
How and when did you get to know the world of magic?
Almost 25 years ago, I was at a classic family dinner, with family members and relatives you only see once a year. I remember being bored and wandering around the tables aimlessly, until an aunt called me over and unexpectedly worked her magic on me with a stick and a napkin. A world opened up to me.
What do you like about this art?
I was so amazed and excited by the magical effect that I have done everything I can to learn and to be able to replicate the same emotions I experienced for my audience. That is what I like most: to amaze people, but not for my own ego, but to make them feel that emotion for a moment where it seems that everything is possible, as happened to me in the past.
What is the first magic, the first trick you learned?
It’s hard to remember, certainly the first discipline of magic I studied was cartomagic. At the beginning I remember that I was terrible with cards, they slipped out of my hand like soap, but dedication and passion work wonders. I would have to ask my closest friends, because they were my guinea pigs that I used to train and understand if I was performing the effect in the right way, I think that with the passing of time they have become involuntary experts in magic too, and all because of me.
How do you learn a trick?
There are a thousand ways to learn, you just have to want to, for example you can buy a book of magic (they exist since 1400, date of the first book of magic), but now with the computer age just a simple search on Google and you can find a thousand notions about it, not to mention Youtube. Of course, this can be a starting point, but if you want to move on to the next step you need a lot of passion and a lot of study.
And if it fails?
A trick will never fail because the spectator has no idea where the magician is going. Many magic tricks are purposely structured with deliberate mistakes, so as to lower the spectator’s expectations and surprise him immediately afterwards when he least expects it. If you really make a mistake, it doesn’t matter, the spectator doesn’t know if you’ve made a mistake or if it’s all part of a grand illusion. The important thing is not to get stuck, but instead to put on a big smile and carry on with your head held high, improvising. I have always said that the main skill for a magician is not manual dexterity but interaction with the audience.
What does it mean to be a magician nowadays?
Surely times have changed, a magician or conjurer in the past had a much stronger image and had more credit, magic was really seen as an art or a skill worthy of the few. Today, young people no longer have that admiration mixed with that fear, but rather they pose almost with superiority; as if it were an obligation to demonstrate, evidently to someone or to themselves, that they are not fooled by a magic trick, rather than closing their ego’s eyes and letting themselves be carried away by magic, they are more focused on understanding the how rather than serenely enjoying the magical effect.
I believe that the fault lies not only with today’s society but also with many magicians who have lost their charm by showing off even though they are not able to do real magic. So, in order to amaze the audience, they would reveal tricks rather than perform them. Today, the magician is seen as a kid’s magician, a child’s entertainer, whereas in reality there are many professional magicians who are not like that and who fall into one of the many branches of magicians. Unfortunately, nowadays, when people think of a magician, they immediately think of a magician for children, whereas a magician can be for adults and also succeed in making people think and move.
Why do you say that yours is a genre of magician “on the way out”?
Because the kind I prefer is Street Magic, literally magic in the street, done in full contact with people, where you can not only experience magic but also touch it with your own hands, where it is not just about technique but especially about entertainment. But nowadays I consider it to be on the verge of extinction because there is a tendency to add a touch of technology and to create magic that exploits the web but which in itself can never have that real contact with the public. By now, “modern” magicians are so used to performing magic behind a lens that if they were in front of an audience, they would certainly find themselves out of place. But this is now a generalised problem in society as a whole, so I don’t blame anyone, but this will remain my thought.
Today, with the Internet and technology, is it still possible to amaze young people, or is there a prevailing disenchantment and distrust of the world of magic?
Of course, as I mentioned before I think that now it is even easier, because young people are so used to seeing thousands of contents on the web and in social networks, that the moment you upload a magic effect of impact on the Web, they are immediately ready to claim that it is video editing, that the video has been blocked or digitally modified. This aspect for those who, like me, do Street Magic is just a plus point, because when they find themselves experiencing the same effect live with their own eyes, all convictions fall away and the result is a healthy and natural amazement, to be left speechless.
Does magic need rules?
It depends on what you mean, magic would need rules but in reality it doesn’t because being an art form, everyone does what they like, as they like. If, on the other hand, you mean rules as magical principles, then what I said doesn’t apply: now the magical principles are no longer explorable, they have all been explored and every effect is based on those principles, of which there are eleven.
We thank Roberto for his availability and leave the link to his Instagram channel so you can follow him in his magical world
Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Travel, health, shopping, lifestyle and business are among the many subjects she writes about. Through quality and well-researched writing, she informs and even entertains readers about things that matter. She is also interested in film critiquing and filmmaking. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.