Much moaning and wailing has been made on the “magic” interwebs of late on the success of a British magician on Britain’s Got Talent who performed commercially available (as opposed to commercial) effects with the implication that this might be, at worst, a form of cheating, and, in the least, not a demonstration of *their* talent in magic.
One must quantify what is meant by “talent.” In magic, there are many forms and approaches; some have talent in: creating original plots/effects, creating original methodology, adapting existing material, developing novel presentations, connecting with an audience in a novel way, realizing alternative conceptual approaches to classic plots, etc.
To simply say “if the talent being demonstrated isn’t magic” reveals a diminished appreciation for what a performance of magic can be.
I like to look at “magic” as a performance experience with any number of possible goals: to shock the audience through the demonstration of a contravention of the known laws of the universe; to explore the limits and potential of human perception; to move audience emotionally; to explore broader themes of human nature; to celebrate the myriad and varied ways human beings experience the world around them; and to reveal the universality of the human experience that is shared across cultures, genders, and stages of human development.
All are worthwhile goals and all demonstrate different aspects of “talent”. While these shows are purported/branded as being about “talent”, what they truly reveal is accomplishment and capability, regardless of the medium. Those who connect the best using their particular medium are deemed to have the most talent…