The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The May 2006 entrée: John Carney » » Big 78/Wonder Cabaret » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

nornb
View Profile
Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of nornb
Mr. Carney,
With you creation of the “Big 78” show and “Carney’s Wonder Cabaret” you appear to have created your own venue for performing magic.
Can you talk a little about this, or if you have written about this please direct me to the publication.

For instance;
Were you trying to create a place to perform close-up in an environment controlled by the magician?
Is there an optimum size of venue? (100 seater, with character and charm?)
What do you think is an appropriate length of show?
What do you feel about the mix of music, comedy, magic and variety acts?
What skills or characteristics are needed to make these shows successful?
Do you get annoyed by rambling open-ended questions?

Many thanks,
All the best,
Norn
John Carney
View Profile
V.I.P.
Los Angeles, CA
87 Posts

Profile of John Carney
Norn,
This is a HUGE topic with me. But I will try to keep my thoughts concise.

In all the years I have done magic, I have never grown tired of the magic itself, but rather the venues in which I worked. My main complaint was that I had so little control over the environment. You ask someone to hit the music in a comedy club, and most likely there is no one near the switch. Banquets could have huge dancefloors between me and the audience, they've been in meetings all day and they have had three scotches and two glasses of wine. There may be no lighting or sound, plants and podiums and pillars in the way, and basically, no focus.

A theatre is a great luxury. I can set my props on stage and no one comes through and moves them, breaking the thread or using your gimmicked clipboard to make some notes.....or moves your props out of the way for the raffle!

But, if you are in an environment where you can create an atmosphere, focus attention and take your time, many new things are possible. You don't have to hit them over the head and run, you can let them get to know about you, go from the silly to the sublime, from the sentimental to the absurd, from the poetic to the ridiculous.

I worked most of my life to get a solid 35-40 minutes on stage, but with the theatre show, I created about 40 new minutes in just a few months. I didn't have to worry about setting up in the kitchen or going on after all the awards and speeches.

Now, not all of this material would work outside the theatre. But if I didn't do this stuff, magic would just be a job where I do the cut and restored rope and pick up my check.

It is a lot of work, extra trouble, expensive, lots more to shelp and it doesn't pack flat and fit under the seat in my carry on. But I have come to realize that if I want my magic to grow, I am going to have to inconvenience myself occsionally.

I am still not sure how I will continue to use music in my show. I just know that it is a big part of my personal joy in life, and it is surprising that I have never used it in my show to any substantial degree. Now I want to learn how to share that joy with other people. I'm a sentimental guy, but don't want to be a saccharine performer. It has to come from the heart, and I don't want to just artlessly pull at people's heartstrings. I want it to be more meaningful and subtle.

More than all the artisitic challenges, the biggest challenge has been how to make money from a show like this. This is a matter of marketing and I am a virtual neophyte here. I'll just keep doing the show when I can to build it, and I am hoping that eventually I will figure it all out.

whew..........I need a nap!

thanks for asking,
carney
Michael J. Douglas
View Profile
Inner circle
WV, USA
1649 Posts

Profile of Michael J. Douglas
When I read the reviews and saw the pictures of your Wonder Cabaret show, I was impressed how inviting your made the stage feel. While still obviously a stage, it looked like an old parlour setting; like you were drawing them into a room in your home to share these curiosities that you've picked up along the way. Nicely done.
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
John Carney
View Profile
V.I.P.
Los Angeles, CA
87 Posts

Profile of John Carney
Michael,
thank you. That is one of the great advantages...........creating an atmosphere and inviting them into a different place. Not necessarily a wonderland, but MY space, my unique world.

Most places, magicians have to fit the space, time restraints, and requirements of their employer. In theatre, the performer is in control, for better or worse.

carney
nornb
View Profile
Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of nornb
Thanks you for your answer.

To follow up, do you feel there is an optimum size of theatre to perform your shows.
Is there a calculation of receipts, number in the audience, distance from the performer, the physical size of the room?
Do you feel there is a number of spectators above which a different dynamic becomes involved?
e.g. 10 is not enough, 50 is just right - they become a different audience entity, above 250 they become a more passive TV style audience?

All the best,
Norn
John Carney
View Profile
V.I.P.
Los Angeles, CA
87 Posts

Profile of John Carney
Norn,
More than the venue changing the audience, it is a matter of the performer learning to adapt to the audience. I don't just mean on the spot, but rather, the performer has to plan differently for the size and type of audience. The knife through arm might not be right for the church show, and the thoughtful piece may not be right for the comedy club. If it is all about seeing the card change, that won't work in the auditorium.

I have worked for audiences of over 2000. But I have learned that if the props are not larger, you at least need a larger IDEA, a concept to fill the stage. It is not just visual appeal, but a provocative idea, situation or compelling character.

I would do shows for 2000 everyday if I thought I could fill the seats and fill the stage. At this stage, I am still growing into a new phase, namely the theatre. So right now, I feel most comfortable with under 300 seats. Fifty is nice and intimate, and a great feel, but there is no potential for income. Eventually I hope to grow into a larger market.

What is most important is that regardless of the number in the audience, you are up to the job for that situation. Learn, grow and adapt.

thanks for the interest,
carney
nornb
View Profile
Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of nornb
Thanks for answering the questions.
It is encouraging to see that even you, with all your skills and experience, are taking steps and developing - to bigger and better.

Thanks.
All the best,
Norn
Ron Giesecke
View Profile
Special user
Redding, Ca.
934 Posts

Profile of Ron Giesecke
Mr. Carney,

Unbelieveably, your time here has all the hallmarks of your often-lauded essay in the beginning of Carneycopia: that being, that I have already learned more here than I ever expected, and you've barely mentioned any specific routines outright.

Even if you stopped right now, the sheer currency of your visit makes it one of the most valuable ones Steve Brooks has arranged to date(in my opinion). This thread alone is why I say so.

I thank you.

Ron
John Carney
View Profile
V.I.P.
Los Angeles, CA
87 Posts

Profile of John Carney
Thank you kindly, friend.

jc
Pete Biro
View Profile
1933 - 2018
18565 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
I guess I'm gonna have to dig out Carneycopia and see what all the fuss is about... Smile
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Danny Archer
View Profile
V.I.P.
Denver
634 Posts

Profile of Danny Archer
John,

If I remembered right, you played guitar and sang a Dylan tune in one of the shows (but not at the Theatre of Dreams) ... Are you a Bob Dylan fan?


BD's Birthday is next week May 24th ... turns 65 ...
John Carney
View Profile
V.I.P.
Los Angeles, CA
87 Posts

Profile of John Carney
Yes of course.

Dylan is brilliant.....he's experimented with every style and his lyrics are just about the smartest out there.......and he doesn't just write in a formulatic way, he plays with the form and is constantly surprising.

sort of like good magic!

jc
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The May 2006 entrée: John Carney » » Big 78/Wonder Cabaret » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.3 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL