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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Reading Story and doing tricks? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sspanks
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Hello,

I have a question and would appreciate some advise. Has anyone allowed a parent to come up and read/narate while you do the trick with a child? I am curious about the pros and cons of doing this. I read in Magic magazine where Tommy Johns does this in his reading show with the book " If you give a mouse a cookie".

I am wondering if anybody else does this, and what advise you can give about what to and not to do.

I am a Children's Magician who does primarily Gospel shows and Children's Worship Services, Sunday School Classes and other Church events.


Thank you,
-stephen
-stephen
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Lee Darrow
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Any time you work with someone that you have not worked with before, you are inviting some problems, regardless of whether working with kids or adults. In the situation that you describe, there is the problem of reading ability and the ability to deliver the material in a manner that will reflect well on the magic that you are doing.

Remember: the number One phobia in the world is speaking in public.

If you are going to use narration, why not record it instead? You can record it yourself or hire a pro to do the work for you and you will get a 100% uniform reading, every time.

Having an embarrassed adult stammer his or her way through an unfamiliar piece is not going to help you come across as a pro. And from the client's side, it might be looked at as trying to "pass the buck" as to who the entertainer is.

From where I sit, not a real good idea, but your mileage may vary, of course.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
James Adamson
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Mr. Lee Darrow's thoughts on right on track. I believe that if you read the column closer that even though it mentions using an adult the quote is actually "Use a teacher or an adult." A Teacher would be the key word here I believe if you do not follow Mr. Darrow's advice.

James Adamson
Be remembered for performing what looks like MAGIC, not skill.
Lee Darrow
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Still, even using a teacher, you are going to run into timing issues. If you are timing a line for the appearance of the pirate flag in the 20th century silks routine by Frank Chapman that uses the poem "The Capture of Black Carew," I can almost promise you that you will have problems. You will either have to rush, drag or even stall.

Teachers are not necessarily the best dramatic readers on the planet. For that, you need a trained professional performer, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary, obviously. Smile

And James, it's "Lee," not Mr. Darrow. My Dad's Mr. Darrow. Smile We're all friends here, feel free to be informal, at least with me, by all means. Smile

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
magic4u02
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I think Lee is right on with this one. In order for this to work properly, I think both people need to know each other and be perfomers. There is so much involved with the correct amount of timing needed, that they really would have to rehearse and practice to get it down right.

Kyle
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magicaltj
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As someone who has actually performed the routine in question (I'm Tommy Johns) I can tell you that I have performed this show over a hundred times and have not had a problem. I always speak to the director or principal ahead of time (at a library, I get the children's librarian to help) and ask which teachers might be the best readers. I would not attempt poetry or something where the timing was crucial, but for the book in question, it is both familiar to the audience and easy to read. The reader simply reads a page at a time and I do the next action. If he or she rushes, I simply give a visual cue and the reader has always adapted.

Lee is correct to be concerned but with a little advance work, this one will work very well. Taping the story was a consideration, but it is so much fun for the kids to see the teacher (especially her class!) read a familiar story, and it involves another adult in a way that he or she is (almost) guaranteed to succeed!

Thanks for noticing the routine!
Tommy
sspanks
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Tommy,

I would like to use the routine described in Magic magazine using the "If you give a Pig a pancake". I have considered using this method in other routines I use in my act, primarily Gospel in Children's Church. I had not thought about getting with somebody prior to the show and knowing ahead of time who I will pick to read the story. That is a great idea.

Anyway, I am a beginner Gospel Magician in The Braselton, Georgia area. I have been at this for one year after seeing B.J. Harris do a show for my Upward Basketball League.

Thank you for your help and advise... I very much appreciate it.

-stephen
-stephen
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kenscott
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Glad Tommy chimmed in. I think Kyle and Lee are not right on this one however. Some of the best routines with helpers are those that are not rehearsed. When I do Fantasy magician I never tell the person in advance what is going to take place.

I have seen Tommy do his routine and it is really good and play well. I would say that is far better to have a teacher read or an adult than a kid as we all know some kids cannot read well .

Ken
magic4u02
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Ken,

I totally agree with you on this point. What my initial reaction was to the point that if you had a routine that was and is based upon a certain timing, and if that timing is thrown off by the speed in which a person reads, it could POSSIBLY pose a problem for you.

This is not to say that it could not be done. I just think you need to make sure your routine is loose enough that you can adapt it to whom ever is reading no matter what their speed or when they pause or laugh. If you can do this, then you probably will have no problems at all.

With Fantasy magician, it is a great way where the idea of the helper not know what is to come, can be very comical and play big.

I do a routine that is sort of the REVERSE to what Stephen was suggesting in the original post. I bring 3 people up on stage (2 kids and an adult). I basically tell a story through magic as the 3 people help act out the entire story. It plays well because the people have no idea what is to come next. I also have complete control because I am telling the story and doing the magic together. It also allows me to adapt and change the routine as I go based upon the comical reactions of the people acting it out.

Kyle
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Lee Darrow
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Okay, no problem here, either. I agree that helpers on stage can add a LOT to any routine, but I've also seen situations where someone came up to help and were completely clueless as to what to do and damaged the entertainment value of the routine.

But, as the originator of the routine says, it works, that's more than good enough for me!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Scott O.
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I must agree, that using an audience member (with some care and forthought) to read small naration or story parts can add quite a bit to the entertainment value of an effect. But there are the risks that Lee mentions as well. If you pick the wrong person, it could detract from the performance.

That said, I've been using an adult audience member in my Scout shows this year to act as an announcer prior to performing Ken's "Scout Match Game". For this, I've found the Scout Master usually works quite well. He basically does live voice-over with gameshow-style music in the background to introduce the host (me) and then explain some of the humorous prizes available. The kids do love seeing their leader involved in the show (Actually, I think the parents enjoy it also). And the Scout leaders seem to enjoy hamming it up a bit (And they are the ones deciding who entertains next year)

So, with the right approach, I feel it works.

Scott Smile.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
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