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Topic: Routining question...
Message: Posted by: MisterE21 (Jan 5, 2003 06:28PM)
One thing I've noticed (and this may be nothing but neophyte naivety) is that many of the bizzare routines I read seem extremely quick, like a short story. I can see the way one could build a themed routine, obviously, with various effects relating to Jack the Ripper, Fortune Telling, Ancient Egypt, etc...but...well, allow me to explain.

At this point in my bizzare career, I don't have a whole lot to use other than regular cards (because I've been learning striaght card magic for the last half year). I know many of you shy away from using regular cards but, hey, to each their own, right? ::grin::

Anyway, awhile back I developed an original patter for Cannibal Cards wherein the cannibals are a group of close friends and the "pigmies" are the three woman with whom three of the men fall in love. As opposed to eating them, the disspearance is related as the untimely death of each woman and then, eventually, each man until only one remains. He dreams he finally dies and is buried (cut into the deck). Upon awakening and finding out he is still alive, he curses God for forgetting him about him while taking from him all the people he loves. A voice replies to him that they there have never truly been gone, at which point the deck is spread and they are all together again. Kinda cheesy, I know but, hey, it's brought tears to peoples eyes!

So, what I'm working on now is a more full routine utilizing these four friends and leading up to the cannibal cards. In essence, it would be a routine of about 5 different effects (Spectators cut to the kings, dr. daley's last trick, twisting the aces, a three queen production and cannibal cards), all woven into a story about these friends life.

Does anyone think this is overkill? It seems like it could be extremely strong...and I know alot of it depends on my story-telling abilities...but...Do you think it will probably just seem muddled or confusing?

::sigh:: I know this POST probably seems muddled and confusing! I'm working on the routine as we speak, and I'd be really grateful for any feedback you can give me...
Also, for any interested, I would be happy to share the actual presentation with you. Just PM me....

Message: Posted by: Ellen Kotzin (Jan 5, 2003 09:09PM)
As someone who watches and admires magic from afar (and plays with it at times too), I feel adding more might confuse, loose or distract your audience.Having the routine short may seem boring, but to an audience who's never seen it before--might be truly magical.
Harry Anderson links his buffalo bill trick with cufflinks--and it works great because there is a lot of action on stage. Does your audience participate?
Good Luck with your routine!

Message: Posted by: Bill Fienning (Jan 5, 2003 09:22PM)
MisterE21 said "many of the bizzare routines I read seem extremely quick, like a short story"

Yes, I have found this to be a problem with so many bizarre effects. I prefer to develop stories 15 to 25 minutes long, with several magical or special effects. I prefer to keep something happening, long with the verbal exposition.

At The Gathering (the convention of the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magicians) this past November in Connecticut, I lectured on extending short routines into longer stories. I may use the material for my column "It's More than Tricks" in the Linking Ring. However, it would be later in the summer, since the next few columns are already planned.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jan 5, 2003 09:25PM)
Far from being "cheesy", I think the cannibal story is a great one!
But I'm not sure it would work if it were routined all the way through with other effects.
That might, indeed, be overkill.
But there's only one way you'll find out for sure and that's to try it on a "real" audience.
If it works, you're right.
If it doesn't, well, just be glad you're not doing open-heart surgery!
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Jan 6, 2003 12:56AM)

I am of two minds about your question.
Keep in mind that I have never done card magic, even before my bizarre days.

My first instinct is that a routine of
that type would be get confusing. It would seem on the surface that it would be difficult to keep the emotions building throughout your story to the climax.

On the other hand, if done well, with various types of emotion played too (ex. start humorous, build up to the more emotional finish) you might be able to
pull it off. After all, people seem to be entertained by straight card magic. A good story should be a step up from that.

I suggest they you go ahead and develop the routine, try it out for a while and let us know how people react.

Good luck,

Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Jan 6, 2003 02:52PM)
Heres my $.02

I think that there is nothing wrong a with several effects in a row in a langhthy routine if your audience is seated and engaged. Small groups of people standing around and it might be too long. I have done silent auctions and things wear i walked around juggling and doing 1 minute peices of card magic and the twisting arm illusion.

this sounds like a great routine and best of luck to you. o yeah and just to get the audience ingaged you might want to begin it with a flash such as a producing the deck of cards or something.

Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Jan 6, 2003 06:05PM)
MisterE21 raises a very interesting question. Having read some of Spence's writing on his site, I can say categorically, that he could hold an audience spell bound for a considerable length of time with his work. It's first rate, and well worth checking out.

I think one of the advantages with bizarre work is that we have perhaps more freedom to choose short, long, or in between with our routines. We can even, as Peter suggested in another thread, dispense, sometimes, with the magic completely, and let the story do all the work. Personally, I like to keep the 'magic' parts to a minimum, but that's just my preference as a performer. And perhaps a comment on my abilities as a finger flinger! However, I love it when other people string pearl after magic pearl onto their 'necklace'. It's all a question of whether something is theatrically powerful, and consistent. The whole should be greater than the sum of the parts

It's a delicate balance to strike. Do you risk overwhelming a perfectly good story with effects that can be a distraction? Or do you finish reading your small novella, that drags them through an hour of every emotion and climax with the magical equivalent of a damp squib? It's something you start to learn with experience. But, perhaps happily, I believe it remains a dynamic balance. Like the juggler with the club on his/her chin, you're always having to adjust and move.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Jan 6, 2003 08:58PM)
sweet! you got an avatar too celab? nice

"Like the juggler with the club on his/her chin, you're always having to adjust and move"

Just thought that was an excelent etimoligy. and wanted to know if i could quote you on it?

Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Jan 7, 2003 12:41PM)
Jonathan, and anybody else who wants to, please feel free to use any of my posts you want. It's nice to share.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: MisterE21 (Jan 7, 2003 02:35PM)
I just wanted to thank everyone for the responses. Iím polishing the script and performance as we speak, hoping to perform it this weekend at my Aunt-In-Lawís birthday (is Aunt-in-law a word? Sounds like my momís sister is a copÖlol). Anyway, Iíll let you know how it goes.

Also, Iím going to try to get it recorded, would love to get feedback on the actual performance. Let me know if anyone is interested.

Message: Posted by: Magickman (Jan 15, 2003 09:03PM)
I always thought that magick was just to heighten the stories we tell. Give it an opening and give it closure! Don't let the effect depend on the magick, let it depend
on you, the entertainer!