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Topic: Silent Cups and Balls
Message: Posted by: DJP (Dec 17, 2003 04:27PM)
Dear all,

I don't perform the cups and balls at present however I came up with the idea of performing the cups and balls silently: 1- quite funny to watch as using facial expresions to aid the magic etc, and 2 it would be a magic effect that deaf people could understand.

My problem is, does the routine (not one in use at the moment but I do like The Gold Cups- David) really require vocal misdirection to aid the movement of the cups etc for the moves?

Thanks in advance

Message: Posted by: mystre71 (Dec 17, 2003 05:04PM)
Dave, No they don't require vocal misdirection. On either the A&E or PBS video of magic, Jeff McBride performs a Cups and Balls routine to music.

I like "The Gold Cups" routine also.

John Carney has a nice one in his new book.

As does Reed McClintock just put out "Defiance 2" The Cups and Balls

Best to you
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 17, 2003 06:51PM)
I saw a very clever silent cups and balls routine at the Lets Go Magic convention in Berlin in 1992. The performer was dressed completely in white. The cups and the balls were also completely white. He was seated at a black table. He was wearing whiteface makeup, so he looked like a statue or automaton. He moved in a very robotic manner. It was really cool!
Message: Posted by: DwightPA (Dec 17, 2003 10:17PM)
That sounds very interesting as I've always felt it necessary to chatter along with the routine.

Was this handled in the fashion of a mime with various gestures and motions?

Dwight Powell
Message: Posted by: K-Max (Dec 19, 2003 08:21AM)
I used to have a deaf lovely assistant. When I was teaching her some of the stage stuff I got to thinking about doing closeup for the hearing impaired. I started teaching her the cups and balls kind of as a "do as I do". I discovered that if you have somebody else doing the same thing that you are it really hits home that you have special abilities they don't posess. The look on her face when all three of my balls assembled under the middle cup and hers didn't move was priceless. It may not work for a larger audience but it was a good exercise in body language usage.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Dec 23, 2003 10:26AM)
I have a routine that I perform for the deaf(I am an interpreter)that is, of course, silent.

Though it took me a while to perfect the misdirective expressions, it has paid off. They love it.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Dec 23, 2003 01:16PM)
You want a really SILENT routine? Get Lewis Ganson's 'CLOTH' cups. :cups:
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 23, 2003 01:33PM)
In "The Magic of Shigeo Futugawa" there is a routine called "Owan to Tama." This routine, based on the ancient rice bowl turning, is completely silent and often done to music.

It does require that you be seated across from your audience, so it lends itself to a more formal performance, but it is a beautiful routine and not done by every magus on the block!

An overlooked thing of beauty.

Also, the Alex Elmsley cups routine with the salt pour finish can also be done silently as well. It's more of a standup routine, not really suitable for close up work at all, though.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (Dec 25, 2003 10:55AM)
I have experimented with the following:
I do the routine silently but I pick a spectator who I ask to give a sport like commentary on the trick (like watching a football game). The times I had the right spectator it really is a piece of entertainment. So the difficulty is to find the right spectator who can make the show with you each time...

This was based on an idea of Eric Mead (with another trick).
Message: Posted by: MrBiddle (Dec 25, 2003 05:35PM)
I don't wanna sound insulting or snobbish, but I can't think of Cups and Balls performed with gestures or facial expressions :worry:
It might end up being corny. But I'd assume you're very creative, so carry on ;)

Use music, instead of facial expressions :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 26, 2003 12:30PM)
On 2003-12-17 23:17, DwightPA wrote:
That sounds very interesting as I've always felt it necessary to chatter along with the routine.

Was this handled in the fashion of a mime with various gestures and motions?

Dwight Powell

No, it was handled as an automaton.

There were robot-like gestures and no changes of facial expression at all.

But now you have given me an inspiration. Several years ago at a magic convention, I saw Leon do his "automaton," with the "Sacred Waters from the Nile" bit. I wonder who acquired the rights to that, or if it has been published anywhere.

Any ideas, Pete?
Message: Posted by: GSmithson (Dec 29, 2003 11:26AM)
Mister Darrow so aptly describes Futugawa's "Owan to Tama" routine. It is a thing of beauty. The book goes into great detail and respect in describing the traditional aspects of the performance, which is silently choreographed to Japanese music.

On the other hand, English conjurors have a history of performing the Cups and Balls against a tapestry of lively chatter, creating an air of showmanship and festival.

The choice is yours to make. It would be best to follow a course that suits your personality and style of performance.
Message: Posted by: Luke Sherratt (Dec 29, 2003 12:08PM)
Hi, I saw a great silent cups and balls performed to music here in the UK it was really good, it was for the Mark Leveridge close up comp at the magic circle I think a guy named Steve Dela did it he is a member here I think so now you can ask him.


Luke :smiles:
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Jan 15, 2004 05:25PM)
One of my many characters (and in fact my prime character) is "Max". Max performs exclusively in silence (silent-comedy).

I have performed the cups and balls silently, without whiteface and without music, during mingling magic situations (ie. cocktails, table to table), and on stage with music, for more than 20 years.

My routine is highly interactive, very rythmic, and always generates keen interest, and keen laughs,keen applause at the "right" moments and audible gasps (when the final load --usually a lemon,is revealed).
I use one final load only, sometime two at the most.

By the way I enjoy using Mike Roger's mini-baseballs immensely, because of the sure-grip and the pure fun of introducing something so unexpected as these.

However, in very noisy environments, I have replaced the mini-baseballs with small bells, and if the theme of the evening is a Casino theme, then small die work very well.

In spite of the fact that I have performed this trick thousands of times over many years, I always look forward to performing it, and never loose the: thrill of the routine, the spectators interaction and reaction and that final gasp of amazement mixed with delight as the final load is produced.

Part of my routine has me actually placing the mini-balls into the spectators willing hands, and the groups concentration is focussed throughout what turns out to be about a 6-8 minute routine.

If silent-comedy fits your style, I encourage you to try it and see for yourself.

But I do agree that you should be willing to have fun with your facial expressions and utilize, strategically, arm/hand movements to direct the spectators' eyes where you want them.

All the best!