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Regular user
New Zealand
111 Posts

Profile of MiNiM
We've recently been offered work doing childrens and family shows in South East Asia and the Middle East.

Our main worry is how we're going to work for audiences who speak little or no english. A lot of our stuff is visual, and the music bits should be alright, but it's the humour (a lot of it is verbal, plays on words, etc) and the interactive stuff (which we depend on)that we're worried about. Interpreters are a possibility, but I haven't a clue what that'll do to the timing!

Has anyone had any experience of this nature? Any helpful suggestions?

Many thanks,

He asked me if I liked card tricks. I said "No." He did three. (W. Somerset Maugham)
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Inner circle
1133 Posts

Profile of x-treem
Humor does NOT translate well verbally, in any language, with a show of this type a little slap stick or other physical comedy, facial expressions etc. goes over alright. That is about all I have for you.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
2642 Posts

Profile of p.b.jones
I have worked for many non english speaking groups from 4 year olds to 18 and a few adults too.
Check this link and see what Anglo european Study tours said about my performances.
(then goto clients letters)

Stick to visual effects,

linking rings,
cards across,
Animal productions,
Unequal ropes
Juggling (lot's of visual comedy can be had here consider jugling 3 items including a Rubber egg let it bounce near the audience ext)

Visual Humour also goes down well, each time you use the magic word also get them to wiggle their fingers this way after a few goes even though they do not know what you are saying they will recognise the string of words and wiggling of fingers and shout the magic words. Still use Patter even though they cannot understand you, otherwise you will not be as comfortable with your performance (it would be like doing a new show for the first time)
this is all I can say really
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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Special user
Living in Perth Western Australia
997 Posts

Profile of Al Kazam the Magic Man
G'Day! I've been here in Taiwan for a long time and use only Chinese in my shows. If I were you, I'd do what the other blokes are suggesting. Use visual stuff, with lots of easy ways for the audience to join you. There was a bunch of Aussies here recently doing juggling, comedy mime stuff and they stuck to their show in English without a translator. I've also seen a very famous American illusionist here as well, and he used a translator for a lot of his show, but he was also using the chance to preach the gospel too.
For me as I perform as a clown, I stick to comedy stuff, and lots of audience participation. I keep it simple with telling the kids to repeat the magic word after I count to three. It might be a good idea to have a translator only to help you get across your magic word or any special things you want the audience to help you with, and besides that use lots of body language and facial expressions. I have a break away wand, and I open it myself first and fan whatever I want them to fan, and then give it to them and motion for them to fan say my hand with the silk in it. They can follow that simply, but don't get it if you try to tell them in English first.
Hope this is a help.
JoJo -->Aussie, comedy magician in Taiwan
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
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