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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Periods & styles of Magic » » The Origins of Pop Haydn's Persona (43 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pop Haydn
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I haven't changed into a different person. My accent has changed. But the accent is more my own than the mid-western accent I assumed for thirty years. Being the real "me" is to be as honest as civility allows, and as unfiltered about my beliefs, opinions, and feelings as possible. I don't believe speaking in a different language or accent changes any of that.
Brynmore14
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Pop you are an inspiration! I have only recently become aware of your work, but I am most decidely a fan. Do you have any recommended resources for those wishing to explore character development? Also whose work inspires you?

Regards,

Brynmore
Pop Haydn
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Character development is best explored through mime and acting class. I have been influenced by many magicians, including Max Howard, The Great Blackstone, Chung Ling Soo, Duke Stern, Billy McComb, Terry Seabrooke, John Thompson and many others.
Brynmore14
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Pop,

I had certainly considered acting classes, but mime for character development I hadn't really considered. I can see how it would force you to exoress yourself through your physicality rather than through dialogue.

Thanks for the tip.
Pop Haydn
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Mime helps us to break down our emotional reactions and follow a path of focused action. It is very good for clarifying your character's point of view and pointing out or making clear his intentions and actions.
DaleTrueman
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I will join in the thanks for sharing as well Pop. It was your Pop character that drove the final nail in and made me pursue magic as a career (which is still a work in progress). It's the ability of your character to inject a fun, less serious, non pompous atmosphere into the event that I love. My own character (not my own personality) could be described as a loveable Aussie larrikin. He's dodgy, ambitious, resourceful and fun, well at least I hope he comes across that way. I've only performed him a few times now but have more gigs coming and so far he's been loved. I wouldn't dare to compare myself to you, but I have been inspired by Pop heavily. Your writing here has taken what I want to achieve to a new level already.

Dale (aka Davo)
Pop Haydn
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Great, Dale! It is fun. I think that the non pompous fun is the key. Not seeking approval and affirmation, but seeking play and fun and interaction.
Anand Khalsa
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I am so glad I approached Pop with the idea of creating this thread and that people have gotten so much out of it. Thank you for your wisdom, Pop! Smile
DaleTrueman
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Quote:
On Jan 16, 2015, Pop Haydn wrote:

So, yes, I am working to plant as much fake supporting evidence as possible. Smile

I like to think of it as peeing in the pool of knowledge...


hahaha, I missed this the first time I read the post
Terrible Wizard
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This thread needs a 'genius at work' label. Pop is one of the greatest magical character creations, up there with Chung Ling Soo, IMHO.
Stellan
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You mentioned Inspector Closeau. This character has no tongue in cheek and therefore, I think, he wouldn't work as a magician stage character the same way Pop does.
On stage it seems like Pop always uses tongue in cheek sometimes in subtle ways sometimes in not so subtle ways. This seems like one of his most powerful magic tools.
I would be interested if you can say something more about this.
"There is no reality, only perception."
Pop Haydn
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What do you mean by "tongue in cheek?" I'm not sure I follow.
Stellan
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I mean saying something that could be taken serious but on the same time by other means of expressions letting people know that you are pulling their leg. Also other ways of creating double messages like explaining the color changing silk but in reality not.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue-in-cheek
"There is no reality, only perception."
Stellan
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I also have another question. I know that you run for president and have strong opinions on politics and social questions like women's rights. Do you ever express this from stage? Do you think there are ways to do this for your character?
"There is no reality, only perception."
Pop Haydn
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Part of the "tongue in cheek" feeling comes from the nature of the magician as a theatrical character. The magician can play the part of someone who believes in the magic that is supposedly happening, but the audience at the same time "knows" the magic isn't real, and therefore are aware of the "trickster" behind the magical character. The mask slips.

Both the trickster and the magical character are interesting to the audience, and often the trickster seems to wink at the audience or even comment on the situation both the real and the imagined. It is this multi-level play that makes the magic character sometimes reminiscent of coarse acting, where the actor is playing to the audience and mugging and clowning for approval rather than staying within the part he is playing. But in magic, it is built in. The audience and the performer both recognize the situation, much like the ventriloquist's audience is aware that all the dummy's actions and voices are coming from the ventriloquist, they continue to talk to the dummy.

I play Pop as a magical character who believes in the magic as real, but Pop the con man and trickster peeks out every now and then and grins, or makes a comment about the action. Pop is a liar who cheats and swindles while believably playing the part of an honest person who believes all the magic is real. He has no intention of convincing the audience that the magic he is doing is real. All the traditional magic that Pop performs is presented within the convention of the magical performer.

But when Pop is demonstrating Magnetized Water, the Teleportation Device, the Sphere of Destiny, or Tesla Girl--he doesn't have that same kidding con man presentation. He really believes this is science and the supernatural. Or he is trying to convince people he does.

If I were playing the part of the character Pop Haydn in a story in a movie or play, I would not have that element of "tongue in cheek" in everyday life except in my performances of magic for people.

As far as politics and other things go, I don't feel much interest or need to bring that into my performances. Nor do I tell the story of Pop and how he came to be here. I do what the character would do if he were here performing for this crowd--comedy and magic.

In a larger theatrical show, I include pitches for candy, medicine or magnetized water, and these often contain satirical elements, but the point of my work is not polemical. I am not here to express my opinions, or propagandize, but to do art. I am here to do conventional, familiar stage and close up magic and to mock manipulative and deceptive practices.

When I am playing Pop the Politician, I am not really promoting any ideas, but rather burlesquing the process and puncturing the overblown rhetoric of the political class. Again, propaganda is not art, and is not the way to find meaning in art.

On the other hand, I am not shy about stating my political or religious beliefs and advocating for them. But this is for social media, my blog or other appropriate places where people are supposed to share opinions of that nature.

I deliberately made Pop Haydn a 1910 era free-thinking Teddy Roosevelt Progressive so he and I wouldn't fight. But Pop Haydn would never allow politics or religion to intrude inappropriately in a social situation or public performance.
Stellan
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Thank you very much Pop, very enlightening. The only thing I miss is some explanation for why this seems to strengthen the magic experience. I also assume that in everyday life you have to cut down the "tounge in cheek" as it is mostly a tool to strengthen your magic?

This also means that you explicitly would deny that magnetized water has anything to do with the fact that Iceland has the highest gender equality in the world? You would never mention this?
"There is no reality, only perception."
Pop Haydn
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Why what strengthens the magic experience? I would never use the term "tongue in cheek" which indicates insincerity. There are two or more characters in play at the same time in the conventional magic character. What you call "tongue in cheek" I would call slipping a mask.
Stellan
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You are right, it is not a good term. I am thinking, as you are underlining, that the prime reason you are here (on stage) is to do magic. But this is not enough. You also need strategies to support the magic. One is a multilayered character that, almost like a snake charmer with his music holds the attention of the snake, creates and holds the interest of the audience. One of his tools is creating a sort of (interactive) dualities (like tongue in cheek) that on the same time tickle two different parts of the brain.
"There is no reality, only perception."
Stellan
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Thanks also for pointing out that this slipping of the masks is contained in the traditional (and perhaps archetypical) role of the magician. The commercial culture of magic often highlights the importance of a new trick and in another thread I saw somebody mention how easy it for magicians nowadays to find information, but where do you find the kind of information that helps you develop these profound aspects of performing magic?

I may be wrong but I don't think that earlier traditional magicians have taken this aspect of performing magic as far as you have. I am thinking of John Calvert who outside the stage reached an almost Indiana Jones like character. On stage he certainly had the charisma, the wink and "tongue in cheek" but was perhaps a bit more limited in his range of expressions. (Interestingly he did an anti smoking propaganda.)
"There is no reality, only perception."
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Mar 12, 2015, Stellan wrote:
Thanks also for pointing out that this slipping of the masks is contained in the traditional (and perhaps archetypical) role of the magician. The commercial culture of magic often highlights the importance of a new trick and in another thread I saw somebody mention how easy it for magicians nowadays to find information, but where do you find the kind of information that helps you develop these profound aspects of performing magic?

I may be wrong but I don't think that earlier traditional magicians have taken this aspect of performing magic as far as you have. I am thinking of John Calvert who outside the stage reached an almost Indiana Jones like character. On stage he certainly had the charisma, the wink and "tongue in cheek" but was perhaps a bit more limited in his range of expressions. (Interestingly he did an anti smoking propaganda.)


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