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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » We double dare you! » » Choosing Volunteers (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Horatio
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I'm planning to perform a short magic routine in July (which I haven't finished planning) and I would like to fairly select a couple of volunteers from the audience at random. There will be about 40-50 people in the room.

Throwing frisbees or foam balls wouldn't be too practical, especially since there will be glasses, bottles and bowls of nibbles on the Café-sized tables. I thought of passing lots of balloons around with tickets in, but bursting balloons might not be the best idea since there will probably be a small number of small children plus at least one pregnant lady (around 7-and-a-bit months by that point I think). If I'm concerned about bursting balloons, then perhaps I should avoid them altogether just in case. There are no tickets or seat numbers at the event (it's a free show), so I can't have numbers picked from a hat (which would be far less exciting anyway than balloons or frisbees).

Is there already a thread which covers this? Would anyone be kind enough to share their ideas with me?
funsway
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Perhaps this story will give you an idea ...

The Hand of Magic

I did not know there was going to a magician at the Assisted Living Center – just took my neighbor to see her Ma. Turns out there was a celebration of some sort with lots of visitors, family as well as residents. I thought of how difficult it might be to “know your audience” in such a setting and pondered on which effects I might perform. Thus, my interest in this unknown guy was more than trickery and presentation.

He performed mostly traditional effects with lots of color and laugher, perhaps trying to rekindle a memory or two of past loved wonders and mystery. The audience was small enough for half-dollar sized coins and his Coins to Glass effect was well received by everyone. Then he did something quite unexpected and miraculous.

He said, “I know – you know – that there is magic in each of you – that what you enjoy is meeting my magic with your own magic deep inside. I am going to need the help of someone who would like to have their own magic emerge – not as an Assistant, but one who will perform a bit of magic for us all to appreciate. How many would be willing to do some magic? Please raise your hands.

Amazing! Thank you. Now, I am going to ask that each of you extend that raised hand in front of you, palm open. Turn it downward as if placing your hand gently on the head of a troubled child. Now upwards as if gathering raindrops. Close your hand quickly – did you catch one? No – don’t look, just enjoy the experience. Please imagine that instead of a raindrop you captured an invisible coin. Place your hand over your heart like this so that the “eyes of heart” can see as well – get your feelings involved. Use your mind alone to sense what that coin is like – its size, color, weight and value. Don’t squeeze too tightly or allow it to fly away. You don’t have to see it to know that it is there.

If your neighbor could describe your magic coin you are destined to be a Mentalist. If they can tell of the coins history you are destined to be a story-teller. If you can change that invisible coin into a solid coin for all to see you are destined to be a conjuror. If you can do all three you may be a wizard. Who is willing to describe their coin to me?”

Several volunteers dropped their hands during his directions and other opened their hands to see what was there. Four people still held their hands over their heart like ancient Romans paying tribute. Each of these described their cherished coin. One gave details of a golden coin and was directed to hold his extended hand over the performer’s and allow the coin to drop on his empty palm. Suddenly an actual gold coin appeared, was shown to all and gifted to the volunteer. Another was given a basket of mixed coins and told to drop their coin inside to join the others. A second said she could feel the coin grow warm but could not describe it. She was given a large wood tray to hold. The third was told to place his coin in his pocket to later gift to another person in need of inspiration – and then to stand at the magician’s right side.

The effect that followed is of little importance, save that the Volunteer entertained everyone with amazing magic in which the magician served as Assistant to the Volunteer. I was too busy reflecting on the question, “How does one find a perfect Volunteer?” or “Do you make them?”

Either way, it is magical.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Horatio
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Thanks for sharing the story, funsway. I agree that it's a magical one.

There's one other issue that I didn't mention in my original post. I know all of the people who will be present and we will have spent the previous few days together. This does mean that I will have plenty of cooperation if I ask for it from the group. It also means that there would be plenty of time (and willing conspirators) to recruit and prepare a stooge for the evening's entertainment, so I'm keen to make it as clear as possible that I haven't done this so that the effect isn't weakened.
funsway
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If it is smallish group I would prep each person to believe they are going to be a "secret assistant" -- then cross them all up with a magic effect that defies explanation by way of their assistance. None will reveal their "secret" but all will be more astonished as a result.
The maxim of "know your audience" can be "make your audience."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Horatio
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That sounds devastating! What a great idea! That will take a good bit of planning, but it would be well worth it if it can be done well. I've never seen anything like this done before. Do you know of any examples that I could look to for inspiration?
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