A Brit Abroad
Peter Stammers in Cyprus
Living abroad does allow you to experience performing in situations that you may not necessarily be booked for in the UK. Doing close up magic on the British Sovereign Bases is one example and entertaining 400 Greek women at the Nicosia Hilton Hotel is another. Recently I performed close up magic for United Nations members stationed in Cyprus. Many will be aware that Nicosia, the Capital, is the last divided City in the world due to the invasion by the Turks in 1974, so the presence of a UN task force is essential. With about 18 tables and each table being of different nationality it was an interesting challenge. All could speak and understand English and although the magic remained the same the presentation changed completely, or just a small part of it, depending who I was confronted with. It was not just different nationalities I had to contend with but also status. I could let loose, so to speak, with the second lieutenants of the Dutch army but a few tables along I would be faced with some leading members of the Diplomatic staff of some Embassies and therefore my presentation would be more formal.
All countries are not 'British friendly' and, at times, it was easy to sense a polite diplomatic tolerance whilst performing. At these tables, which were few I might add, I did just one or maybe two tricks. No good in prolonging the tension. As my normal close up environment is the tourist market I have designed a routine that is visual and overcomes any language barrier. Although there was no language difficulty the light banter and humour in my patter had to be, from time to time, reduced dramatically. However, such is my routine the magic was strong enough to stand alone. On special close-up events like this I try to add something personal and on this occasion I decided to conclude my routine with a piece of origami. The decision on what to make was easy - it had to be a dove.
© Peter Stammers February 2001