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Profile of mahucharn
Hello All,

I am a current high school student, and have been asked to perform at my high school's talent show in the auditorium. Here's my problem: all of my magic revolves around cards and coins (close up stuff), and I do not think that the tricks I know will work for a semi-large audience of around 300 people (the largest I will have performed for). I still have around 5 months to prepare for the show.

I am only allowed to perform for 5-7 minutes. Do any of you have some ideas on a few illusions that can be performed in front of a large audience (preferably low-medium budget)? What are some sources that I can use to purchase the necessary items/instructions?

Thank you all for your ideas.
Richard L.
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Profile of Richard L.
Are you looking to do a silent act or more stand-up type material?
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Teacher and Legend
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Don't go too far out of your element. Illusions are not necessary and if you are buying it for a show, you will not get the reaction you want. How many minutes do you have?
Next, you can do cards across, simple ring routine, or jumbo card effects and get the same bang for your buck.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
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Profile of iPerform
A friend of mine in high school was in your same predicament. Instead of doing his cards and stuff which he was great at he did a gag stage act where everything kept going wrong (on purpose) and it killed. he ended with the production of a live chicken that actually fooled everyone. as long as you're entertaining and still magical, a high school audience is the perfect time to have fun. don't feel like you have to have a big prop to be entertaining.
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Profile of mahucharn
Thank you all for your replies.

I have about 7 minutes to perform, and would like to do something that involves some form of comedy. I do like the idea of performing an effect with the linking rings, where do you think I should start (sorry, I think I placed this in the wrong section)?
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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For a quick and dirty routine, go back to your Mark Wilson course and chain some effects. Remember to actually use the whole stage if you can.

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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Profile of jimhlou
You can do a cut and restored rope, and then invite a young lady up on stage and do the "ropes through body" trick - this is a small trick with a big illusion feel. PM me if you're not familiar with it. This will take up all of your time.

Mark Boody Illusionist
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Profile of Mark Boody Illusionist
Try shrinking & growing head illusion by Bruce Kalver.
Packs small & plays big.

I use this in every show & it is one of the most talked about effects I do!

So much for the sleight of hand!

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Profile of w_s_anderson
If you want a big illusion go for a sub-trunk. They are inexpensive and look great!
George Ledo
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Profile of George Ledo
There's some good advise above. The size of the props doesn't really matter: it's what you do with them and with yourself and with the audience.

Back in the seventh grade I was in a talent show. Walked in juggling three balls, then did the diminishing fan of cards, the finger chopper (with a joke about Louis XVI), the egg bag, and the temple screen (with a story about a silkworm). This was on stage in a church hall in front of about 300 people, which was my largest audience up to that time too. Got first prize.

I also got comments over the next few days about the finger chopper... from the older kids who sat towards the back of the hall. And from some adults. Even a little prop, if used correctly, can get a huge reaction.

The prize? Five bucks. Sent Louis Tannen a check the next day for a milk pitcher and a couple other small items.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine

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David Garrity
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A school talent show is a great way to showcase your magical talent. I was in three of four years of high school talent shows back in the day. However, please keep in mind that you'll want to do something that you can do in other performance venues. One of the benefits of the talent show was that the local access station in town taped it with a three camera shoot. It was one of my first demo videos and it booked me a lot of work.

Instead of trying to do some illusions which might be hard to use in other venues, use some play big material that you can use to begin to build your show. Here are some suggestions:

Bill in Orange
Cardiographic (Martin Lewis)
Straitjacket Escape
Floating Rose (Kevin James)
Linking Rings

I hope this helps!

Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Boy, I can relate to your desire, but I had a small act and was lucky enough to borrow the Abbott's Chinese Chopper from a local magician. This was 46 years ago.

The acting teacher only would allow a magician if he had a large trick.

I did:
Crystal Silk Cylinder for a blendo effect to a comedy picture silk.
Blocko - a block penetrating a sheet of glass between 2 tubes.
Professor Nitemare rope trick.
Comedy Color Changing Silk.
Abbott's Chinese Chopper, Spectator from the audience was used for the illusion.

Many of the advertisers on the Café can supply you with great magic tricks. Just start searching the sites. What I like in magic is not what you would like.

Good luck, if you decide to do this.
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Profile of ClintonMagus
It takes a LOT of practice and rehearsal to transfer some close-up effects to the stage, but it can be done. Maybe the best example of this I have ever seen is Jonathan Pendragon's multiple card selection routine. It's all about SHOWMANSHIP!
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
David Charvet
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Profile of David Charvet
As suggested above: Mark Wilson Course. Lots of great illusions in the back. Easy to build so you can concentrate on rehearsal and performance. Arabian Tent and Victory Cartons are both time-tested good ones for the beginning illusionist.
Good luck!
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Profile of unclesamayen
There are so many good advices above.
I think a good parlour or stand-up comedy magic will be a good choice.

I'll add some good tricks:
Bill in Lemon
Card on forehead
Cut and restore rope
6 cards repeat
Instant magician

Good Luck!
Comedy, Mental, Busking.
Performing magic for the blinds.
Busking in Mong Kok
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Naperville, IL
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Profile of Chezaday
Alright .. here's the plan, do what you're comfortable with. It's that simple .. now make it work for an auditorium. Set up a projector/big screen and go that route. Doug Henning did this years ago and with the technology these days it should be a piece of cake to rig this up. Set up a table just off center, get a volunteer or two and do your stuff!

If you've never done illusions you'll be out of your element. It takes months and years to make it look right. Do what you know .. you'll be nervous enough in front of your classmates.

Trust me on this one ...

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Profile of Excaliber
I agree with W.S Anderson, get a sub trunk , that illusion is all you need . it will knock them dead . it will be better for you to do one cool illusion than a string of smaller tricks , 1 trick and leave them wanting more. remember you will be competing with singers, bands etc... and they always get better ratings why I don't know
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Profile of afun14u
I am with Steve on this what YOU are comportable with! If you have never done a big illusion don't do like most and jump into something your not used to. Chat with the Audio/Visual group at your school I bet they can set you up and will really make you look professional. Dancers, singers, bands, etc...will NOT stand a chance when your being "YOU"!!!!! Good luck and enjoy.

Empowering Kingdom Growth through Evangelistic Entertainment!
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
The classics. Egg Bag, Cut restored rope (or prof. nightmare), torn/restored newspaper, Linking Rings will never let you down. Keep it simple, be yourself.
Roland Choo
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Profile of Roland Choo
Since you're familiar with cards and coins, I agreed with Magicians' recommendation - card crossing. One of the card crossing, I will suggest is Challenge Name-A-Card by Mark Strivings. You can get spectator from the front seats and another one from the further seats. This is a very easy card trick and allows a lot of room for personal presentation. You may consider Flying Jumbo Card as well.

Another easy and high impact trick will be himber ring.

Although it is a parlour show, I like to walk to the audience to interact with them. Although it is not very convenient to do so, you can take opportunity like walking down to the platform and usher the volunteer up to the stage.

3 points that I would like to point out for doing a highly impact parlour show will be fun, interactive, and relevance. I have successfully engaged all my audience because of these 3 basic elements.
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