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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » What is the POINT of it all? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Richard Osterlind
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Traveler,

Thanks for the compliments! I never know where a book is going until I finish writing it. I am working constantly on the new one right now, but have no idea how long it will be or when it will be finished. As for the format, I promise that one day EVERYTHING will be in one book, but I want that one to be complete and my mind is still far from complete!

Richard
Julian Kestrel
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The first is a confabulation style routine revolving around me asking an audience member "have we ever met" and the asking her several questions. I then produce a love letter from her to me that 'proves' that she has been stalking me. I then apologies for embarrassing her in front of all these people but I 'needed' witnesses. There is a very clear PLOT to this routine and a point to everything.

So here is my question...how do you make mentalism (or magic mentalism) relevant to your audience?
[/quote]

Nicholas,

What have you done here is to create a "Sucker Trick" for Mentalism. Sucker tricks are the bane of the trade. They diminish the performer, and the audience . They also act as a caveat, that to become a volunteer can be akin to being a victim. I do not understand why any performer would ever wish to use a volunteer in so ill a fashion.

To make your Mentalism or any of your work relevant, you first need to establish a rapport and possess a strength of character on stage and off that does not create the impression of thriving upon the diminishment of others. That sparticular style of performance while popular with magicians, seldom has appeal for legit audiences.

Julian Kestrel
jo
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I admit to having similar thoughts to yours Nicholas, when I started out in Mentalism. It led to much frustration and for about 3 years I tried to "find my feet" and what it was that I felt comfortable with performing, and how to get through to my audience. I've always opted for an "interactive experience", trying to include as many people as possible. With Mentalism that job isn't easy.

Along that journey I discovered what I felt comfortable with performing, and I looked at the sublte differences between Mental Magic & Mentalism... as defined by the current thinkers in this art. But even some of these thinkers contradict their positions or opinions by their performances or products - eg... they call themselves Mentalists and then perform Mental Magic.
The reason I mention this is only to show that this entire art has many facets, depending entirely on the performer's intent. And foremost, at least for me, that intent MUST include entertainment. What else is this all for then?.. if not to entertain.
Whether you stand up on stage in front of 100's or show a single someone an effect in a dark alley, your intent is still to entertain. (Whether you succeed at it or not is another matter).

But to answer your initial question "how to make Magic/Mentalsim relevant to your audience", you need to ask "what is it you're trying to achieve through this form of entertainment?"
Are you wanting to display your abilities? Show the potential of the human experience? Make people laugh, cry, feel emotion? Give your audience hope? Or just a good time? What do you want the EFFECT to be? (food for thought: as performing artists I feel we should get back in touch with what the term EFFECT means).
These are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

My current show, which is still evolving, is very much directed towards an experience the audience can share - either between themselves or with me, or both. I take the role more of a catalyst or facilitator to this "magical experience". The focus shifts from me as an entertainer in the beginning immediately to the participants joining me on stage while they get to "test" their abilities (as an example think: "They Hell Fire" by John Riggs). The rest of the show is set-up so that it builds and shifts focus back to me, culminating with more "unbelievable" type effects... but by then the audience has a vested interest in what I am doing and they want me to succeed. Because I have made them a star from the start they are more willing to believe what they experience. (btw, I claim nothing and make no disclaimers). That is my answer to making what I do relevant to the audience... involve them and make them succeed... be a star!

Ps... Both Richard Osterlind and Richard Busch's books have been very inspirational to this line of thinking, as well as Derren Brown's performances.

Hope this helps.

regards

Jo
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