New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
November 9, 2016

Family Activity: Jason Bishop—Straight Up Magic

Play with magic, tricks, and crafts in this Family Activity! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog or at at
To be an official magician, you must recite the Magician's Oath: 

"I, (your name here), a magician, hereby stand by the Magician's Oath:
—I promise never to reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician. 
—I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic.
—I promise never to ask a magician how their illusion was done honoring the practice and tradition of the artform."


Sergent Pepper

Some magicians can move things with their minds—this is called telekinesis. Wow your family and friends with this trick to convince them that you have superpowers, all in the name of science!

Materials: Aluminum tin or pie plate, toothpicks, black pepper, dish detergent, water

Step One: To set up the illusion fill an aluminum tin with water just enough to cover the bottom. Sprinkle black pepper into the middle of the tray—make sure to use a bunch of pepper in just one specific area!

Step One: Take a toothpick and dip one end in some dish detergent. You can even decorate it beforehand, as it is your magic toothpick!

Step Three: Now you are ready for an audience. Invite spectators to gather around the aluminum tin, and explain that your magic words will give power to the magic toothpick to cause the pepper to scatter. When you have cast your spell, place the dish-soap end of the toothpick in the center of the blob of pepper and watch the pepper scurry!

BONUS: Trick your spectators by giving them a soapless 'magic' toothpick and encouraging them to try the spell. Only you will be the true magician!

Gizmos and Gadgets

As all magicians know, not all things are exactly as they seem. Jason Bishop and his magic partner, Gizmo the dog, work very hard to bring color and magic into our lives. Create your very own Gizmo in this nifty trick for your family and friends!

Materials: Printer paper, scissors, clear tape, permanent markers, washable markers, page protector (found at any office supply store)
The Materials
Step One: It's time to draw Gizmo! Draw a simple picture of a dog on a white sheet of paper with colorful markers—the more colorful the better! For younger children, parents can outline Gizmo in pencil and have children color him in. When drawing your dog, think:
  • What breed do you think Gizmo is?
  • What colors is its fur? Is it long haired, short haired?
  • Is it smiling? Panting? Sleeping?
Draw Gizmo
Color Gizmo
Outline Gizmo
Step Two: Get ready to make magic! Tape your sheet of paper with your colorful dog on it inside the sheet protector, and trace the outline of Gizmo onto the clear plastic sheet with your permanent marker. Then put the other sheet of white paper in between the colorful Gizmo and his outline—fashion a small tab with a clear piece of tape at the top of the blank sheet so you have something to grab onto to make the magic seem effortless! 

Insert the Dog
Trace Gizmo Again
Make the Other Sheet
Step Three: Slowly slide the back sheet of paper out of the plastic sheet to magically color in Gizmo! 

Ta Dah!

Pitter Patter

Magicians often converse with participants and audiences to engage them while doing their magic—it also helps to distract audience members so they don't carefully study your sly moves! This dialogue is known as patter. Write a short magician's introduction filled with one liners to use when performing your magic tricks. 

Watch these magicians' patter for inspiration!
Jason Bishop
Jen Kramer

Step One: Now that you have two magic tricks ready to go, come up with your Magician's Name and the name of your magic show! 

  • What kind of magic do you specialize in? Levitation? Hand Tricks? Contortion? 
  • Are you performing in a stadium? In a living room? To a panel of judges?
Step Two: Write out a short magician's introduction. Fill in the madlib below!
Family Activity Mad Lib
Step Three: Practice your introduction to yourself and get the timing right. Then perform it for friends and family. They can't wait to meet their new friend, the magician!

Family Activities

We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites: TXT Marks the Spot, Talk-Backs and more!
Twitter   How did your magic toothpick trick turn out?
Share a photo of them with us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVicFamilyActivity.
Facebook   What did your audience think of your patter and Gizmo magic?
Like us on Facebook and tell us what you thought up!

Posted by Beth Henderson
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