This is an interview with Britain's Trevor Lewis, conducted at the Young Member's Workshop at the 1998 SAM convention (Yes, I got a lot of interviews that week!)
While he performs magic all over the world (he specializes in magic for children), Trevor Lewis starred in his own TV show in Britain called "Trevor's Tricks." He is also a member of the prestigious Inner Magic Circle of London's famed Magic Circle, founded by David Devant 100 years ago.
Listen to this interview. Running time 6:26
Mini-Wizard: Please tell me about your involvement with children's magic.
Trevor Lewis: I've done children's magic for many years on televison and all over the world. Now if you are going to do children’s magic you have to specialize. So that they recognize you and identify you with a particular form of children's magic, or magic for children. I specialized in road safety magic.
What happened was that I was doing a couple of road safety tricks in a show one day and at the end of the show a Road Safety Officer came to see me, who happened to be in the show, and he said "Have you got any more tricks on road safety as a theme?” I said yes--I really didn't have any-- I thought but you always say you have. So he said, "Well if you can come up with a 45 minute act with road safety magic, I can get you a lot of work.”
And so I went home and thought about it for a while and of course in the I came up with an act of 45 minutes which I performed at schools all over the world under the contracts for road safety. They have a special road safety department, so consequently that's where I went onto the schools one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The underlying message in Britain is "stop, look, and listen."
Are you familiar with a trick a called “The Professor's Nightmare?”
[Interviewer’s note: This has nothing to do with “The Professor” of magic, Dai Vernon and his nightmares. Although, maybe it does.... Anyhow, ask another magician to show you this trick if you’re not familiar. It’s in some books of beginners magic.]
Trevor Lewis: Well there you have a great trick for road safety--because the small piece represents "stop," the medium size piece represents "look," and the long piece represents "listen." "Stop look and listen." Now some boys and girls think "stop" is the most important, some think the "look" is most important, and some say "listen" is most important. But of course they are all as important as each other and that's why the three ropes all become the same size. (and you “magic” them the same size)
At that particular point, as you know, you have one small piece which is looped around the large and you have the middle piece. You toss the medium piece over your left arm which leaves you with the long and the little in your hand looking like two of the same size. You can't show the three pieces separately as the same length. So, there's a move that you can do to show them. [counting the two as separate]
Now, because you have one in one on your arm and two in your hand, you have to come up with a line to cover that position. And you say, "So you have be careful where you see a road with one yellow line or two yellow lines." Now in this country they have a double line on the road where you can't park at all and one line where you maybe you can park. So you see by holding one and the two you say be careful whether it's one yellow line or two yellow lines. An so you say holding the one and the two, “One yellow line and two yellow lines." And that gives you an excuse for showing the pieces that way.
And you say the “stop” is no good with out the “look.” (tie a knot) “Definitely knot.” And the “look” is no go without the “listen.” (tie a knot) "Definitely knot." And you know how you can slide the knots down and make it look like one large piece of rope? Then say, "And if you always remember the three words--"stop. look. and listen," you always get across the road in one piece." [Show one piece] Ok? You've got it?
So now you've taken a routine with three bits of rope and you've given it a road safety theme. Very, very important because then you are doing magic with a message. Not only are you entertaining the children, but you are educating them as well.
Mini-Wizard: Do you have any other advice for young magicians doing kid shows?
Trevor Lewis: Yes, don't try to be too clever. And try and be a part of the scene yourself. As I said in the lecture, the most difficult thing in any children's show is trying to get some applause between tricks. Very difficult. Because children watch television. And they don't applaud for television so why should they applaud the magician?
So what you do is at the end of a trick say, "That's the end of the trick say that's very sad," so when I come to the end of a trick I have them say "aww!" But then you say, "I have another trick so I want you to say 'hooray!'" So consequently between each go that dead spot covered by "aww!" and "hooray!" And all the children will do that. "Aww!" and "hooray!" fills in the dead time between the tricks. The most important things to know about doing children’s magic are business, involvement, and participation. Get them to do as much action as you possible can.
(final horn rings in young members workshop ending the session)
Mini-Wizard: Thank you very much.
Trevor Lewis: It's been my pleasure.
visit Trevor Lewis' site here or purchase his DVD here