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Peter Loughran
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Ontario, Canada
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Profile of Peter Loughran
About a year and half ago, The Pendragons were performing in Casino Rama, a casino located in northern Ontario Canada.

The Casino hosts a wide range of acts from singers, bands, comics, and even magicians. I'm mot sure on the exact amount of seats, but the theatre is a nice size.

I purchased 2 tickets from Ticket Master for Lyndsy and myself. Upon arrival, we discovered that our seats were in the front row. As we made our way down to our seats we noticed that the front row was full of our other magical friends from the Toronto and surrounding areas. Performers like Jeff Hill, and Ken and Barbi Poynter were amoung the other illusionists attending.

It was quite funny since all of us were all side by side, and the front row consisted of about 90% magicians/and or their spouses. Now me and Lyndsy were located off to the right side portion of the theatre front row.

Now before I begin to tell the rest of the story, I want to say that I am a huge fan of the Pendragons, and always will be!

As the show began, something terrible happened. I noticed that all of the stage marks were down stage close to the audience. As they brought illusion after illusion out, from where we were sitting, everything was being revealed.

For instance when they were doing the Pole Levitation, you could see the support from our angle, to the little things like when Charolette was getting inside the Hindu Basket the cloth flourish that makes it appear that she vanishes obviously lost its magical appeal, since you could see her drop down. Almost every big illusion suffered the same fate from where we were sitting.

I was thankful that at least the front row was mainly magicians. But how many times would the front row be full of magicians, and what about the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rows etc.?

I know, I know what you are saying, exposure doesn't matter, look at the mask magician, etc. etc. However all I could hear from behind me was dissapointed spectators who were all at the same angle as us. I think they were just as upset about seeing too much as any performer would have been.

Now, I don't think this was The Pendragons' fault. In their defense the seating did wrap around, but their stage manager should spot this and have alternative blocking and stage marks for when they approach this type of situation. Either that or they simply don't care.

I had only ever seen this once before, and it was durring a David Copperfield show. But this time I was sitting in the balcony, and watching the "Big Black Box" illusion where most of you might remember ends up with a production of 3 big sheep dogs. Now I don't want to go into exposure here but from the above view you could clearly see how everything was being loaded into the box. Even with the clever use of the lid of the illusion that is used to cover this action.

Now David and his crew obviously know a heck of a lot more about staging then I would ever know, considering they do it 500 times a year. So wouldn't you think that they would catch this? Before the show began, wouldn't they realize that everyone in the balcony will see how this illusion works? Or again, maybe they just don't care.

I would like to beleive it was simply an oversight on both occasions, and that they do care. But it shouldn't happen when The Pendragons, and David Copperfield do as many shows as they do. Both acts are huge and successful, and although something like this wouldn't hurt their career, they are sending home a few disappointed paying spectators.

For me, upon arrival at the event or theatre, and once set up, I check my angles. I or someone else sit in various seats around the stage, and on the balcony, checking to see if the standard stage marks should be adjusted for that particular event, and if so make the neccessary adjustments.

As a final thought to this story I would like to recommend an inexpensive read, that helped me get off on the right foot learning about how to use the stage. The book is an old one that many may already have or at least heard of, its called Magic and Showmanship-By Henning Nelms.

In this instructive book, Nelms analyzes every phase of conjuring-from sleights, devices and illusions to misdirection, controlling the audience's attention, incorporating "patter" and the effective use of assistants. Of particular interest is a chapter on body language, posture-positioning and movement on the stage.


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