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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Riches to Rags (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Nick Wait
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Inner circle
Lichfield, UK
1043 Posts

Profile of Nick Wait
Hey

I've been designing a manipulation act recently and an idea that really appeaeled to me was a rags to riches, but I find htis has been done befiore, and seems a little bit weird i.e. tramp that can produce food, do magic but still iving on the street. I would love to do a manipulation act based around some sort of message, something that is obvioulsy relatively important, and I had the idea, of demonstrating that the homeless all started of as normal people who had a run of bad luck resulting in him becoming homeless.

The problems I am facing are firtsly how to deliver the message without been heavily patronising
Wheter I should leave the act, with a sad ending, as opposed "everything will work itself out in the end" that isq rather cliched.
Actual effects I can perform. My basic ideas so far have been the entering of a richman, production of money, food, drinks etc, before he starts to fail to produce money, he produces food wrappers and empty glasses, and an eventual costume change into a tramp. Any other ideas or do people spot anyother problems.
Nick
Jaz
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
Quick idea.
Begin with the tramp pushing a shopping cart.
He makes his way to a park bench.
He sorts thru the cart finding only trash.
Somehow have him recall a better past. Perhaps reading a known financial newspaper he has.
The lights dim and he's tired.
Have him pray or make a wish.
Have him use the newspaper as a blanket.
When he wakes up he's now a well dressed fellow.
The trash is now transformed into things of value.
Nice hat, a cane or whatever.
Maybe the card can change simply by turning it around and showing the other side has the words "Rolls Royce" and the emblem on it.
He leaves the stage a changed man.
Nick Wait
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Inner circle
Lichfield, UK
1043 Posts

Profile of Nick Wait
Nice ideas Jaz, but not quite I'm looking for.
that's really a rags to riches routine. The act I am looking into, is a riches to rags routine, I'm doing this for a couple of reasons:
a) Originality, I hate saying this as I don't thing you should do original ideas for the sake of being original, but it has helped draw me to it.
b)It makes more sense in my mind, if someone could actually produce food, money etc why the help they on the street in the first place. My routine, is using a normal, person as the charachter and the magic is used as a representation of his life, i.e. the food hes eating, his money, drinking etc.
c)The message, something that I think people often forget is that the homeless weren't always homeless, they were once like you and I.
d)It doesn't have a happy ending, or the cliched idea that everything will work out in the end. Sad stories seem to of been translated in almost everyother art form, froms songs, to literature, to plays and artwork. Yet these ideas have never penetrated there way into magic. Maybe this is oner of the reasons, magic is so often not recognised as art,(i'm not going to be drawn into the magic as art debate, as I'm a bit of both, have fun but mix in some artistic, emotional pieces).

My routine idea so far goes a bit like this, I have not really looked into methods, but hope a lot of this will be possible.
I will talk about me, as Joe Bloggs as opposed to magician, as the charchter is not a magician.
Ok Joe Bloggs enters, in smart suit, expensive shoes, watch etc. The stage isd eccentrily decorated with extravagent expensive looking props i.e. expensive sofa, mirrors, a chandelier hangs from the ceiling,
Joe Bloggs, starts to produce money, coins and notes, he is fling his money around as if there is not tomorrow, as he puts into a bag/ briefcase/box. However unknown to Joe, the box has a hole in it, and the audience can see the money slowly trickling away.
We then see some of his expenditure, as he produces excessive quantities of food, and drinks.
But then he reaches into his money container, and finds it empty, wee see him producing more things, but his lifestyle soon diminshes, toward the end he is producing food wrappers and empty glasses.

(Now here the hard part, at some point I would love to change some of the big props into things on the street i.e. couch into a park bench, a champagne bin into a trash can, and at somepoint the chandelier to fall from the ceiling and crah down, Leaving just a single light. During all of the above, I would love for a gradual costume change to occur, a slow deteriation to occur, until he is left in tattered jeans, a cut up t shirt, and his original jacket. And for the finale, I would love to have the single light to begin flickering(running out of electricity) and as this is happening the jacket is removed, changed into a tattered blanket, which he lies down under before the light finally gives out completely.

So what do you think? Please don't steal, I would love to hear ideas for methods but apprecite those should go in a different forum so if your willing to discuss methods, please PM me.
Anyone got anyother suggestions. For those of you interested, I have been saving up for a long time to design this act and have been getting a lot of work, so should be able to spend about £1500-2000 on it that equates to about $2800-3700. I am only 17, hence that budget.
Yours Faithfully
Nick
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22437 Posts

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To be honest, this type of act sends me back to the 1950's. Red Skelton and the old black and white television era. You are really doing a playlet of sorts. It might play at a magic convention or if you can make it 3 acts for Broadway theater it may work, but I do not visualize a fast paced show that is in demand today.

If you really want to do this silent, then I suggest you study Charlie Chaplain, as he was the master at getting things across in silent film days.

This theme is not out of line as there are many magicians that are unemployed and broke. The truth may not be what the audience wants.

Just some thoughts before you blow all your pound notes.
Nick Wait
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Inner circle
Lichfield, UK
1043 Posts

Profile of Nick Wait
Wmhegbli
I think you have made some very valid points, that I most certainly do respect. I agree that this isn't a paticularly commercial act.
I guess the problem with magic having a sad ending, is that to many it may seem as a contradiction of what magic is i.e. You are the magician, the hero, with these wonderful powers why on earth would bad things happen, your the magican why don't you just make it better? I think that due peoples perception of magic, these questions, may arise in an audiences yes, however, if through following your chaplin watching suggestion, I can get the message across, people will understand the act. It still isn't a good commercial act for corporate events, but I think I would perform this as a competition act, and as part of my stage show. A show which is quite fast paced. However I feel buy introducing it, maybe after the interval, I can explain my motives for doing this, the message etc I might be able to make a connection with the audience, as they find the act relatively easy to understand.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22437 Posts

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Maybe you should then think of your investment and return on investment. Say you do this and win a competition. Then what? You have invested time, money, effort and the 6 or 7 shows you give at other magic conventions will no where near help you recover you investment.

If you just want to do it because it is a burning desire, then go for it and don't look back!

This picked my interest because I wrote a magical play many years ago. It too would be good at a magic convention and even maybe on Off-Broadway in New York. Mine is speaking parts and a lot of comedy interaction. It would take a good year to set up and then you need connections to get it off the ground. Trying to transport the show is another hurdle to try to overcome.
Nick Wait
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Inner circle
Lichfield, UK
1043 Posts

Profile of Nick Wait
Really, as this would only be part o fmy own show, I think this would be done off my own back, with little expectation for much return. I love creating magic, and to create somethong I'm proud of. I can make money otherways, but this way I can feel proud of my performances, it helps me keep interestd, so I can if I want to go out, and do the rather boring orrible venues that are the corporate venues that stifle creative talent, and audience reaction. Making for rather dull drab pieces to perform.
Flying Magus
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Loyal user
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How about the magic happening to you rather than by you. The rich guy enters and suddenly no matter what he does, as the result of magic, it ends up in him losing. There is ample scope for humor here.

Eg. Ostentaciously pull out a large wad of cash to pay for something. Look away slightly (with a turned up nose) as you hand it over and then, unbeknownst to you, it disappears. The cashier receiving it looks at you strangely and you desparately try to explain that you "just had the money in your hand".

To end the routine, you could have the character become comically resigned to his fate. Perhaps he could give up and fall asleep on a park bench using a newspaper as a blanket. As he closes his eyes, dollar bills rain down on him. Of course by now he is asleep and so misses out on the money.

To reinforce what has been said before, watch Chaplin films, and also see if you can get hold of Red Skelton in the "Cop and the Anthem". They may give some inspiration.
Magically yours,

Michel Fouché
Believe in the Impossible
Nick Wait
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Inner circle
Lichfield, UK
1043 Posts

Profile of Nick Wait
Flying Magus, as I said earlier, the magic is not happening by me. It occus merely as a representation of a lifestyly i.e. money being produced, simply equates o money being spent.
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