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Stellan
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When I think of it, one way to add subtext to your performance is by music. The chosen music will add a dimension to the performance stirring up emotions, connotations and memories in the spectator. Different tunes will give the performance different expressions and will be crucial to how it is perceived. The same magic routine will have very different expressions depending on what tune is played. Let's say you choose to do the Linking Chinese Rings to music. You can do it to elegant classic music, you can do it to rock'n roll, to a modern jazz sax solo, punk or circus music. You are communicating something with the music you are playing while you are executing the routine. This something will be interpreted somewhat different from individual to individual depending on their memories and relationship to the music. This adds to the interest.
As most magicians (?) do not use music when performing magic, this may be a marginal remark. Still it is example of how subtext can be an extremely powerful tool in stage magic.

The more interesting question for most of us is: If you don't use music how do you create interesting subtext?

What is Gazzo really doing?

Gazzo is of course not the only one. There are lot of magicians creating interesting subtexts. Juan Tamariz, Mac King, With Haydn, Eugene Burger, David Williamson, Jeff Hobson and not to forget Master Payne.
How are they doing it? What are they really doing? I don't think they execute the magic tricks much better than most of as, but they sure are better magicians than most of us. It must have something to do with how they create their subtexts.
It is time to squeeze the secrets out of them!
"There is no reality, only perception."
Stellan
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Here is me as Dr Hux creating subtext:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJBnfclPU3Y
"There is no reality, only perception."
tommy
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Well yes I think the musics subtext or whatever needs to be interrelated to the overt magic by the artist if its to be given any merit at all. Just throwing any old music at it does not do the trick. Setting ones piano on fire when playing it adds a dimension but I think its better to do so when singing great balls of fire.
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Tommy, watch the movie "Legend of 1900" The whole story is magical but the piano playing "on fire' and even impossible -- so, I guess it's magic.
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tommy
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Many things are magic Ken but it does not mean that these things are the same form of magic.

Behold the power of orange knickers!
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Brad Burt
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When I think of subtext I think of the 'text' below the overt message of the either the trick, play or story in a book. What 'message' is just below the surface? What 'other' message?

I was attempting to figure out how 'music' could add subtext if at all? I have the following illustration for possible discussion: A man is walking through a darkened house. (In this case there is NO music as background.) He looks pensive, but not terrified. He walks along and suddenly a fellow in Guy Lombardo mask leaps out and pelts him to death with a stack of old Big Band records. End.

Now, same scene, but this time the music is low, tight and scary. As the man walks, BECAUSE of the music you intuit that something BAD is about to happen. Subtext: Something bad is about to happen. Granted you don't realize that a faux Guy Lombardo is involved, but you KNOW something is about to happen.

Before this discussion I would not have said that music could do this. I believe I was wrong.

By the by: I saw a show with John Carpenter. He talked about the movie Halloween. The first cut was put out for folks to look at and give their impression, etc. It has NO music and got quite bad reviews. Carpenter went to work and put together a score like almost overnight. They then showed the movie and it got RAVES! Only thing changed: Music added. I love Carpenter. When he's good he's wonderful and when he's terrible he's wonderfully terrible.

Best,
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tommy
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A particular piece of music can evoke a particular idea. If for example one were performing with a ball or two then:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB8F8g1-4Uw
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Text is the card trick.
Subtext is that the cards grow more brittle during the trick and almost crumble as you case the deck.
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There was something on the news today about them now freezing the dead and crumbling them to dust to save the planet from global warming caused by cremation and to save grave space. I guess one could do something with the Ace of Spades like that for some topical subtext. Or is that merely a grave plot? Smile
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Jonathan Townsend
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!!! ... okay that's a trick with a plot (pun intended)

Subext is what the audience can read about the performer or the performance that's contextually evident yet not directly shown, described or explained.

Consider how an audience would "read" a performer opening a sealed deck, rushing through a find a card trick and right before they snap their fingers to discover the selection on top of the pack they do a few cuts that seem to take effort. Then, obviously relieved they show the selection and hand the volunteer the pack - where they (the volunteer) finds it to be all cards glued together into a block.

The text is "i do a dumb**s find a card trick" and the subtext is "i gotta do this real quick before the glue sets".

IMHO the exercises and discussion in the links a few posts up are pretty good for learning about this text/theatrical dimension. This is a basic literary resource (stuff the reader/audience figures out on their own) which has been discussed and taught in literature, rhetoric and theater so you can get lots of help from at least three groups who really know how to build upon this foundation item.
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Alan Wheeler
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But, surely, these three groups do not use the subtext to build up the impact of an impossible effect or to hide a secret method, do they? As Maskelyn writes, in magic, theater serves the purposes of magic.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Alan, they do better - they affect readers and playgoers who they never meet, see or know. They get strangers to care about actors in costumes on a stage, somehow buying into the emotional reality of the lives they portray during the course of a show and what affects these entirely (and the audience knows it too) fake people.

So which is a better trick: finding a card or making an audience care when the boy does not get to keep the girl, every time, in a play - successfully for hundreds of years and many thousands of performances?

Okay, here's a basic literacy test - how come folks here don't discuss the end of The Tempest when Prospero throws away his staff and books?

Around here I expect the average "celebrated magician in the Café" to vote for finding the selected card - as the other is simply inconceivable and who cares to learn from Shakespeare anyway?

Or maybe, just maybe we have readers here who want to learn how to write compelling text so they can then add layers and find ways of using subtext to offer additional experience for the reader.

Hey look at clever me - I found your card. That's nice - have a cookie.
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landmark
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"So which is a better trick: finding a card or making an audience care when the boy does not get to keep the girl, every time, in a play - successfully for hundreds of years and many thousands of performances?"

Could there maybe be a final kicker where the girl's shoes turn purple at the end?
Michael Kamen
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Quote:
On 2011-09-02 20:51, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Alan, they do better - they affect readers and playgoers who they never meet, see or know. They get strangers to care about actors in costumes on a stage, somehow buying into the emotional reality of the lives they portray during the course of a show and what affects these entirely (and the audience knows it too) fake people.

So which is a better trick: finding a card or making an audience care when the boy does not get to keep the girl, every time, in a play - successfully for hundreds of years and many thousands of performances?

Okay, here's a basic literacy test - how come folks here don't discuss the end of The Tempest when Prospero throws away his staff and books?

Around here I expect the average "celebrated magician in the Café" to vote for finding the selected card - as the other is simply inconceivable and who cares to learn from Shakespeare anyway?

Or maybe, just maybe we have readers here who want to learn how to write compelling text so they can then add layers and find ways of using subtext to offer additional experience for the reader.

Hey look at clever me - I found your card. That's nice - have a cookie.


Sorry you feel that way Jon. It may just be that most folks here are not quite so pretentious as to try to tack all that on to a humble magic trick. Usually winds up looking kind of foolish anyway, in my humble opinion. I hear some magicians enjoy wine-tasting and watching the history channel, when they are not finding your chosen card. I'll have another cookie thanks.
Michael Kamen
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2011-09-02 21:48, landmark wrote:
"So which is a better trick: finding a card or making an audience care when the boy does not get to keep the girl, every time, in a play - successfully for hundreds of years and many thousands of performances?"

Could there maybe be a final kicker where the girl's shoes turn purple at the end?


There's a musical where after all that, the main character sneezes and the audience gets the subtext that he's not entirely happy about getting married. (Guys and Dolls)
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Brad Burt
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"...the subtext's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."

The Director's cut of Donnie Darko

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
Brad Burt
Whit Haydn
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I try to tack an awful lot onto a humble magic trick. Course, I may have misplaced my humility...
tommy
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I come not to be humbled by the muggle but to wield my power and will upon their stuff from a great height.

:)
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Stellan
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I know a guy who can do most of Lennart Green's material, but he does not have Lennart's wonderful web of subtext. The subtext is the difference. Lennart invented among other things sloppiness and clumsiness combined with elegance as a subtext. Study Lennart's subtext!

Interestingly, confusion can be a subtext to the presentation but not to the magic. Another reason to keep subtext for presentation separated from subtext for magic. It seems to me that they have not only completely different aims but are also different in nature.
"There is no reality, only perception."
Brad Burt
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"The subjective nature of subtext obviously means that the writer has limited control over it, but this is not at all to say that the writer has no control. Consider again the camera metaphor (adopted in our previous exploration of setting plot boundaries), which also provides some inspirational imagery for thinking about subtext." -Exciting Plot Writing

"As the camera's field of view narrows, elements of plot vanish from the viewfinder, though not necessarily from the action. A photograph of an infant smiling broadly at someone or something above the photographer's head raises questions of what that someone or something is and how she, he or it relates to the child. We might guess that it is the child's mother, but equally it might be a clown or a favourite plaything.

Just as there is subtext in terms of the elements of plot beyond the edges of the picture, there is also subtext to be seen by imagining our way inside and behind the images actually shown in the picture.

The mind of the infant in the photograph is inscrutable, but we may find ourselves trying to look inside it by mapping our memories of subtle facial expressions, our memories of other people whom we imagine to resemble the infant in some way and our experience of the world around us. That smile might be one of recognition, but it might be a symptom of some mental dysfunction, or it might just be wind.

Subtext, then, is the sum of the parts of the plot that are never explicitly stated, but are nevertheless crucial to the reader's/listener's interpretation, understanding and, ultimately, enjoyment, of the plot. " -Exciting Plot Writing
Brad Burt
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