Making Real Connections With Magic
Magic Skills Make A Difference.
"Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford
Every summer, Toronto, Ontario, Canada is home to Buskerfest, the largest street performers' festival on the planet. Yonge Street, the longest and most vibrant street in the world (according to many Torontonians, at the very least!), acts as a stage for this huge fiesta. As the name implies, talented street acts flock from around the globe so that they might share their gift with enthusiastic audiences.
This year, my wife, our close friends from Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp and I traveled downtown and experienced first hand this frenetic chaos of live performances. Jugglers, face painters, musicians, acrobats, magicians and more filled the landscape, all trying to perform their best feats so that audiences might put some money in their hats. It's a sight to behold.
On the afternoon we went, we were lucky enough to catch four different magicians performing on the pitch. While all of them were noteworthy in some fashion, one performance stood out the most for me. I've never seen anything like it before and it's one of those instances where it makes you reflect on your own life.
Magic Man Andrew Eland, a wonderful comedian and sleight-of-hand artist by way of South Africa, is that act. He's got an amazing knack (one of the best) for insanely difficult sleight of hand. Multiply that by the fact he's an excellent performer (and super funny), and you'll start to understand why he's considered a true legend among the underground.
During his performance we saw that day, something terrible happened. Not bad like finding the wrong card, but honestly terrible and gut wrenching in the kind of way that sends shivers down your spine. As a performer, I never want to face this. Ever. Right there, I watched it happen to Andrew.
About ten minutes into Eland's set, directly after producing the third of his four aces mid trick, a woman stepped forward, immediately stopping him mid sentence. With a genuine tremble in her voice, she cried out that her child has just gone missing. Apparently, he was watching Eland's show, but now the youngster was gone.
Remember, we were standing on the longest street in the world along with perhaps four thousand people, tightly grouped by the proximity of each of the performances. Losing a child under any circumstances would be terrifying - this was more like a horror story come true. It would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. She knew it, the crowd knew it, and Eland knew, too. You could see the fear and desperation on this woman's face. Personally, I don't have any children. Nevertheless, I can assume this classifies as a parent's worst nightmare. Minutes are like hours under such circumstances - the longer the delay in finding that child, the greater the potential for peril and the risk he wouldn't be found.
Without missing a beat, Eland put down his deck, and walked over to the woman. He looked deep into her eyes, then calmly told her he would help her find her child. In one sentence, he managed to relax her. It was magical. Immediately following his amazing display of human connection, he announced through his vintage PA system that everyone standing there would all help to find the little boy, mentioning him by name - here, I’ll call him by a different name, Billy, to protect his privacy.
Eland instantly transformed from a wonderful street performer into the leader of a semi organized search party that was on a mission to find this woman's lost child. It was like he was some sort of pied piper, and the audience his loyal followers. I was in awe of how well he handled this frightening situation. He took that captivated audience, redirected their attention in a way that simply wouldn't occur to most people and got them looking for that child instantly, without the delay of waiting for a response to a phone call for the police. On his command, each of us turned in a direction and started calling out little Billy's name. The group of us were combing the street together, looking for this boy.
I'll spare you the seven tense minutes of searching. Luckily, Eland found Billy, with the help of dozens and dozens of audience members. The young man was down south about two hundred yards, watching another street act, completely unaware his absence triggered a block wide manhunt. Needless to say, his mother was exceptionally grateful, hugging her boy in an emotional heap.
I would be romanticizing to end this story by telling you that everyone came back to watch Eland finish his set. It would also please me to tell you that his hat was filled to the brim with cash as a result of his genuinely wonderful deed. Regrettably, neither happened. Once the boy was found, the audience dispersed and moved on to other performances. Eland never got a chance to produce his last ace.
But for all the magic he might have performed that afternoon, no sleight of hand could have topped how Eland handled the situation. We witnessed him make a connection so deep, it affected everyone at a primal level. Long after the cards were fancily shuffled, lost then found and changed before everyone's eyes, Magic Man Andrew Eland proves that being human is the most magical connection we can ever make.
Learn More About Andrew Eland
For more information about Magic Man Andrew Eland, please visit his official website.