I just finished a week-long run at The Magic Castle in Hollywood. This was my fourth time performing there in the past few years, and it has always been an absolutely amazing experience. As far as I know, there’s no other gig like it on the planet.
Performers are contracted for a week at a time, Monday to Sunday, to perform up to four 20-minute shows per night. Thanks to the strict dress code, exclusive membership list, and how the invitation system to the club is set up, the audiences tend to be interesting, attractive and well-off members of the public who are excited to see you perform, and often slightly intimidated by the prestige of the venue.
In other words, the perfect audience.
This was a relatively busy week so I ended up doing the full four sets each night, for a total of 28 shows. In addition I was booked for two extra shows on Friday afternoon, plus a 2-hour lecture for the magician members on Sunday afternoon. Not to mention that after finishing your sets each night it’s easy to be hanging out until the small hours of the morning with the other performers, guests, and members of the public.
Even if you get the chance to sleep in the next day (which I didn’t this time, due to needing to prepare for the upcoming Hollywood Fringe Festival), there is something about performing that many repetitions of your show…
By the end of a week at the Magic Castle, you are knackered.
But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Between hilarious backstage hijinks with the other performers (particularly the ones I spent the most time with – Jordan Wright, Adam London, Christopher Hart, and Tom Ogden), the amazing people I met, and the wonderful nights hanging out at late night Hollywood eateries, it was a captivating experience. If anything, it was probably made even more intense by the constant state of sleep deprivation I was in.
Now I’m going to go and pass out again.