We have learned so much from Allan Ackerman over the years. His 11 disk set on Erdnase is one of our favorite go-to DVD collections. We love card sleights, we’re from Chicago, we worshiped Ed Marlo and so Mr. Ackerman is a natural fit for us.
Mr. Ackerman was at the Magic Castle last week, performing in the wonderfully appointed Close-Up Gallery. The guy is good. He makes hard stuff look invisible. At the end of the week, he provided the Magician Member only lecture and we stumbled away from the event exhausted. We were tired but it was a good kind of tired. He had some amazing routines and patiently taught each to the nearly sold-out group of very appreciative students.
We mention Mr. Ackerman not only to praise his skills and encyclopedic knowledge of our favorite branch of magic but also to ponder on page what makes bad audience members behave the way they do.
Last week, we watched as Mr. Ackerman dealt with an audience member who was determined to make the show her own. She was an attractive and seemingly normal individual who had demonstrated fine manners before and after the show. But during the show, she turned from a pleasant member of society to someone who caused us concern.
Mr. Ackerman was about to perform what appeared to be a multiple card revelation. He had various spectators select a card from the deck as he riffled through the pack. All was going smoothly until he encountered the subject of our anthropological study.
Armed with apparently a little knowledge of how card tricks work, she sought to disrupt the proceedings by demanding that Mr. Ackerman re-do the selection process several times to make sure that she selected precisely the card she thought she wanted.
The show essentially came to a halt as the spectator insisted Mr. Ackerman conform to her requirements. Finally, in a genial manner, he spread the deck on the table and asked her to take a card according to her whim. The trick was a success despite her efforts to undermine but the rhythm was lost and the rest of the audience suffered as a result.
Why are some people like that? Why would someone want to disrupt a performance. We are not judging but sincerely asking.
The disrupting individual must receive some benefit by acting that way. Assuming that the person is rational, he or she would not do something that would bring discomfort or bad feelings. Or perhaps he or she does feel discomfort but the psychic benefit is greater than the discomfort.