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JNeal
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This is a continuation of the discussion we are having under the title Silk sequences.

The 1998 version eliminated the use of the "THIS" production because producing silks from silks struck some well respected acquaintances of mine...as odd. I realize that the Diminishing silk production is really a silk from silk trick and the purpose of this routine wasn't to create a heavy mystery, but rather a stage filling spectacle (hence the name LVPN -Las Vegas Production Number)

For those of you who haven't read the little essay I wrote about this vintage routine, it's under Silk sequences in this forum on another thread.

Instead I produced the first streamer from what was originally a sheet of plastic. It was of the type that had a 'memory' so that when you opened the sheet to show the inside empty, it would spring back into a closed condition. I know Pavel marketed some tricks using this principle. The load (or as we like to say it on this forum: the L**D) was a mailing tube with one end closed by a piece of monofilament . It allowed access to the material therein, but kept it from springing out prematurely.

At this point I have to talk about the apparatus and quantity productions. I love all the ingenious devices in the Silk Ency. Vol 1 and owned a set of Haunted chimneys. But generally, I will dispense with any apparatus if an alternate method can be found. Failing that, I will try to minimize the inherent 'trickiness" of the prop whenever possible. This is an approach in keeping with my performance philosophy and is in no way intended to disparage anyone using traditional apparatus. But for me less is always more... especially when I'm trying to make it look like a lot!

So the plastic sheet production didn't last long! Maybe 6 months. I then realized that something very similar would work using two sheets of tabloid paper. The load was the same cardboard tube, but taped on the back of an easily replaced paper. the paper by the way was Daily Variety because it was printed on a glossy stock that didn't turn my fingers black with ink. Looking at this today, it's still reasonably deceptive for the purpose.

The first silk as mentioned is a streamer, rather than the 5 way string of silks in the previous incarnation. The narrowness of the tube meant that the 5 silks would be later.. The streamer was handed to my partner. Again, I'm trying to emphasize a horizontal image, because each silk should be produced or used in a significant way from the others. The color is red to blend in with my partner's costume as that will be a detail for later in this brief routine.

Although this routine is varied a bit from the previous version, my objectives are the same, so there is little hesitation at any point and nothing is displayed for very long. I WANT the audience to feel a little overwhelmed and breathless, because it will lead to pent up emotion and a release at the end.

I know many magicians want to give the audience a chance to appreciate the beauty of the silks individually (especially at the cost that each entails), but inmy opinion, that pacing will not work in the markets and conditions that exist professionally today ...or back in 1988!

The second silk is my streamer on a stick and although I may have been first (or one of the first) to do this in 1985, and it's still effective, but would only last a few more years. I am rather impressed (today) that I did that full arched back release (dance move) way back then! (check it out, it's at the 35 second mark)

Next a produce a short yellow streamer, that purposely does not come free from the paper tube. This motivates me to travel and met my partner 1/2 way upstage and hand her the tube. As she and I back away from each other, I have the streamer downstage and do a modified load steal from her upstage simultaneously. The steal is OK, but not quite a Wakeling hip steal in deceptiveness. the color of the yellow streamer is to grab th audiences eye and be more noticeable than the red streamer previously seen.

As Richard Hughes points out, color choices are critical. Now we come to the 5 way silk (that's what I always called it) which is a production of a 36" silk that reveals itself to be five 36"silks sewn as a chain. Again another dynamic and the visual interest is strong. Notice that Liane (my partner) doesn't wait and take all 5 silks and walk offstage...she runs! and they fly with her! Also, at the 55 sec mark you can see that a strong stance telegraphs to the audience that something is about to happen.

Next is the 5 foot square silk. And on this performance, I did NOT get a good grip on the opposing corner and the production falls lat. Mea Culpa, I do toss the silk in the air to fill out the beat here. My thinking is that each applause worthy production must be appropriately telegraphed and sold to the audience. Each production may not be applause worthy, so you choose your moments and hit them strong! When one of those moments is lost (as in this performance) you move to the next one.

Finally, the double flagstaves production. it's a generous sized stage, but this fills it nicely. Looking back, I am happy that I negotiated the two or three steps so easily (without tripping) and handed off the 'stuff' to Liane on the right beats. The careful observer will note that given the chance, I'll come back for a bow WITHOUT the props. This is in keeping with the philosophy that the performer is more important than what he or she does.

It's a 90 second routine with lots of color, flash, movement, coordinated attack, rhythm and as many of Fitzkee's 'appeals" as I could jam in...back in 1988. Parenthetically, I replaced this entire routine around 1994 with something even better.

For a video look :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_-l6_q5xwc
This was done on a cruise ship in 1988

Regards to all-
JNeal
visit me @ JNealShow.com
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