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Topic: Dramatic Structure for Walking Knot
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Feb 21, 2008 08:51PM)
Hello friends,

Could someone help me with the dramatic structure of a walking knot routine?

I have been using three phases, but the second may be weak or anticlimactic:

1. Cut and tie rope, slide knot (under cover of a red silk)to middle and untie. I have been getting applause here--perhaps due to the unintended applause cue of separating the two pieces of rope? This response is so consistent that I know I always have to motion or ask the audience to hold the applause.

2. Tie rope and rub knot with red silk, slide knot visibly to the other end and untie.

3. Tie [fake] knot, whip it with red silk as it dissolves. Display rope and red silk in slight but planned applause cue to end.

The reaction is so strong during phase one that I wonder if I should move the knot visibly the first time and eliminate phase two. I use Pavel's Junior Walking Knot, but do not ask the audience to say "stop" before cutting or untying.

I hope someone might give me some examples or suggetions as to how to structure or present this effect.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Mar 2, 2008 06:29AM)
The impact of the 1st magical moment in your routine is such that the repeat and payoff come as an anti-climax.

I guess the thing to do is change the payoff. Make it stronger. One possible thing you could do is change the effect. Instead of ending with the knot vanishing and the rope being restored how about transposing the the cut property from one rope to another.

Have a 2nd rope set to the side. Cut your walking knot, slide it to the opposite end and untie for your 1st strong response. Retie, slide it to the middle and untie for a 2nd moment, still magical and strong but maybe not as strong as the 1st reaction. Retie the knot, remove it take it over and place it onto the 2nd rope. Untie the 2nd rope to show the cut has been transposed.

Some performers find that the repeat nature of the effect adds to the impact but if you're not one of them, you might want to give this a try.

Cheers, Neal.
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Mar 17, 2008 07:19AM)
Thank you. I will consider how the payoff could be made stronger.

If other performers achieve impact with repetition in this effect, then the problem probably lies with how I am building the drama--and not with the design of the effect.

Here are two examples of effect design with the walking knot, however.

The only time I have seen the walking knot perormed was by Harry Anderson on Saturday Night Live. If I remember correctly, he only moved the knot once. But the simplicity of effect was just killer.

I came across an example of a poorly designed walking knot sequence described by Ortiz in "Designing Miracles". Ortiz says the first two times the performer dragged and untied the knot were "truly wonderful." He was "held captive by a false interpretation" (that the cut-and-tied portion of the rope was moving) and was "enchanted." Then the performer pulled off the knot and showed the rope restored. Ortiz said the kicker exposed the true interpretation of events and stole the illusion of impossibility.