SINGAPORE RING 115 - Jul 2020 Magic Meeting Report

Written by John Teo


Even though Singapore has eased the lockdown, large gatherings were still not allowed. Therefore, Naathan Phan’s lecture took place through Zoom on the evening of 15 July 2020. It saw an attendance of 43 people.

Naathan entitled his lecture “It’s The Little Things”. “It is important to pay attention to details,” said Naathan, something we found to be true as we sat through his lecture.

His opening effect was a three phase card trick. Naathan had someone merely think of a card as he spread the cards face upwards. He took one card and placed it inside his trouser pocket and that card turned out to be the spectator’s thought-of card. He had another card chosen, but it happened to be the same card as the first one. Naathan isolated this card and put it inside his trouser pocket. He had a third card chosen, and placed this card on the table. When this card was turned over, it transformed into the first selected card. The card in Naathan’s pocket turned out to be the third selected card. For this effect, Naathan taught us how to cull and palm a card and how to do a top change.

His second effect was a signed card to wallet. He introduced his specially manufactured zippered wallet and showed us how to prepare cards for the Mercury Fold so that a freshly folded card could appear as though it was kept inside a wallet for quite some time.

At this juncture, Naathan spoke about the importance of taking up acting classes to learn the proper delivery of your patter, how to tell good stories and how to come up with your performing persona.

In his pen through bill trick, we could actually see the torn edges of the hole where the pen penetrated the bill. Both the pen and the bill could be handed out for examination.

This concluded his first part of the lecture which was on close-up magic. There was a short intermission of ten minutes. Naathan returned to teach us parlour and stage magic.

Naathan’s torn and restored newspaper trick is known as “Ripped Off”. He took the best of the ideas from Gene Anderson, Tony Stevens, Alex Hecklau and Robert Baxt, and eliminated all the weak points. Naathan’s method allows him to ditch the gimmick together with the torn pieces, sign the restored newspaper and give it away as a souvenir at the end of the performance.

An element of danger helps to bring drama to a magic performance. The Russian Roulette, Nail It and Pain Game type of effects use some kind of dangerous weapon. Naathan’s version involved four cans of soda drinks. One of the cans was shaken up so that it frizzed inside and waiting to explode out of the can. He mixed this can with the other 3 cans behind some cover. A spectator selected one can at a time. Each time, the selected can was opened right in front of Naathan’s face. The drink inside the cans did not gush out into his face. One can was left. The tab of this can was pulled out and the drink inside burst out into a protective cover. This comedy version is based on Paul Harris and Eric Mead’s “Frizz Master” effect.

Naathan’s final effect was aptly entitled N.A.M.E. which stood for “Not Another Mental Epic”. This one-ahead mental trick was accomplished without the use of the popular Mental Epic board. The final revelation had a nice twist involving a randomly generated large sum using a non-sophisticated desk-calculator, and the serial number of a bill. Naathan discussed the many psychological ploys he employed in this effect.

Although the tricks shown by Naathan were standard performance pieces of most magicians, they all had that special Naathan touches that brought them several notches higher in their deceptions. They were all due to the “little things that mattered” to Naathan.

It was an entertaining evening. Naathan was a clever and energetic performer and it was easy to understand why he was featured in many popular magical TV series.

Naathan is an opera singer as well as an impressionist. He gave us a short impersonation of actor Jackie Chan.

Naathan’s parting words for our Singapore magicians was to perform our magic well so that we can elevate the art of magic since magicians are few and rare in the world.

The lecture was arranged and hosted by our Tommy Chiang. After the lecture, Tommy gave us a link to Naathan Phan’s online magic store where we could purchase his products with a special lecture bundle deal.

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