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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Boxes or Not (What do Layment think) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DavidThomas
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About a year ago I was doing a corporate show. On the Communications headsets a "tech" said in a snipey way..."oh another box". Since then I have been thinking about what lay people think about illusions we all perform. Below is a list of illusions in my repertoire. I would never perform many in the same show. My question to all is am I correct in the way I have listed each one as being looked at by the lay audience as a box or not. There are some that have question marks which I am not sure of.



Arial Sub Truck Standard (Yes)
Backstage (Yes)
Blammo (Yes)
Bump Box (Yes)
Crystal Casket (?)
Decolta Chair (no)
Dream Vision (no)
Fire Cage (?)
Flambe w/ appearance (no)
Goddess Levy (no)
Instababe (no)
Ladders (no)
Magic Carpet Reveal (no)
Modern Art (yes)
Origami (yea)
Selbit Sawing (yes)
Smoke Chamber (?)
Spiker (yes)
Sub Trunk (yes)
Sword Box W/ Audience appearance (yes)
Twister (yes)
Zig Zag (yes)
Arial Sub Trunk LG (yes)
Cycle Appearance (yes)
Cycle Vanish/Appearance (no)
Death Drill (no)
Kiosk (?)
Million Dollar Mystery (yes)
Nascar (no)
Smoke Chamber (?)
Table of Death (no)
Toyota Appearance / Disappearance (no)
David Thomas
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George Ledo
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Good question. In my own mind, as a spectator, it isn't so much whether it's a box or not, but whether the "magician" is just demonstrating a prop that anyone else could buy. And then you have the presentation, which so often focuses on the BOX instead of on the MAGIC.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Michael Baker
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This might seem to be in direct opposition to what George said, but it is not intended to. It is only to give example of another possible approach.

It seems that most illusions are performed pretty much the same these days... fast and to music. There are of course some exceptions. Given the opportunity to speak, one approach I personally would consider would be to embrace what you already believe the audience is going to be thinking. If you openly acknowledge "a box", by what ever measure, then you effectively dilute that fact as fodder for an argument from the audience. When you appropriate something that the audience might use against you, then it puts you both on the same side of the fence. Think about how Robert Harbin performed his Zig-Zag. He explained each feature as he progressed through the trick.

Of course this would not work with every show, but for some it should.
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Pakar Ilusi
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Make a Universal Base.

Then use a screen with a Projector.

Not a box, multiple uses. Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Kent Wong
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For the last several years, I have performed a full theater illusion show. Within the show, I have a large number of classic illusions that go over extremely well with the audience. Yet, even with these beautiful props, and strong presentations, the most talked about effects are consistently Pavel's Simplified Walking Knot and Losander's Floating Table. I think the reason for this, is that the effects are simple and pure, using items that the audience can easily recognize.

Kent
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George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2013-07-29 11:35, Michael Baker wrote:
This might seem to be in direct opposition to what George said, but it is not intended to. It is only to give example of another possible approach.

Actually, I think we're both pretty much on the same page. If you demonstrate a box as a magic trick, then it could look (and I've seen this repeatedly) like you're saying, "I'm a magician -- see what my box can do!" But if you take the box and say, this is a box and I am going to something impossible with it, then the whole schtick changes.

It all goes back to the old saying, "It ain't the trick -- it's what you do with it."
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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SeeingisBelieving
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I believe it is all in presentation. As Jeff McBride once told me, "It's our jobs to do the impossible. Make the audience believe that they can not go out to a magic shop and buy the box you're using. Give them reasons to think that even if they had these props that they couldn't do these things." It's what we do, as magicians its our duty to make the audience believe, even if it's just for the duration of the trick that it really is magic and not the work of the apparatus.
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john wills
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Please, don't listen to a "tech", they have "seen it all". Many tech's have not the proper motivation, they are not what you could call "theater animals". They kick on the technical side of their profession, moving lamps, buttons, sound gimmicks etc. But they can't imagine themselves what impact it has in the brain of the audience. Often they are blasé of performers and their equipment, their interest is totally in the direction of techniques. But they forget that a good artist even can perform without a zillion dollar costing sound- and lighting system. Don't let their remarks turn you down.
It's the magician and his PERSONALTY what's really creating the picture in the head of the audience not he paraphernalia.
DavidThomas
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Hi John,

These comments never get me down. Just got me thinking about perceptions from an audience. I do not discount what they said and I think there is truth to it. My original question for everyone is my list correct in what is a box or not (in the eyes of an audience). The ones with question marks I am unsure of. Are these illusions considered a box to a lay audience?

Crystal Casket
Fire Cage
Smoke Chamber
Kiosk

The reason I ask is I am unsure...and I want in the future to have the proper mix of illusions that I can present.

Thanks all!!
David Thomas
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ClintonMagus
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Too much of anything gets tedious, but I love to see "well-placed" box illusions in a good routine as a part of a larger show, and I think that most customers who pay to see a show like them also. Where it becomes a problem is when the "boxes" appear to be homemade (in a non-professional, out-of-context sort of way), or they are chipped, dirty, etc. I have seen some of the greatest names in illusion perform Crystal Casket with scratches and fingerprints to the point of distraction. Conversely, a couple of years back, I commented to Kevin Spencer how clean his props were.
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Pakar Ilusi
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I still say make a universal base.

If you have the money, make it big, the size of a small stage or podium.

It will serve as a stage to show nothing is coming from underneath, all the while doing the dirty work.

For an example, look at Copperfield's 'Snow' illusion or that upright Asrah he does, I forget the name...

It is costly and gainly to transport though at that size...

All the best. Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Oliver Ross
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Pakar Ilusi,

Just to help you remember the proper name of David Copperfield upright Asrah illusion, he called it "After Hours".

Concerning the prop he used in both illusions you stated, they aren't universal bases, but Zimmerman bases if I'm right.


Oliver.
Frank Simpson
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At the heart of the issue, you are asking a completely erroneous question. The prop is the wrong starting point. The effect is what is most important, and then the presentation thereof. Conceivably a performer could have an entire evening of "box tricks" without it ever entering the audience's minds. Conversely another performer could perform the identical set of effect leaving the impression of an endless parade of hardware.

Props are a means to an end. They are the tools we use; they are not the show.

Let's say you are going to put on a concert. So you go about putting together a lot of violins, violas, basses, cellos, harps etc. and then you start worrying about having too many stringed instruments in the show. Ridiculous! Why? Because the instruments aren't the issue at all! The repertoire is. Now if you are aiming to perform Tchaikovsky you'd be just fine. But if you are looking to perform AC/DC, not so much.

I would hope that any magician would choose to perform an evening of effects, not props. If the show is well balanced in terms of productions, vanishes, transpositions, etc. then the question of "boxes or not" becomes much less important.

I understand John Wills' point about technicians, but I disagree that many are not "theatre animals". Of course some may not be, but many, many truly are. But when they are working they cannot enter into the same mind space that an audience can. Their attention and focus must be kept on their respective jobs and responsibilities, and thus they cannot get to the place of suspension of disbelief, and they experience any show very differently than an audience will. I do agree though that their voices are not the ones to listen to when considering effects for a show.

If a performer is worth his salt, no audience will look at each illusion as it is rolled out and put it in the "box" column or "not box" column. My advice is to start over, asking a completely different question. And look to the show in its entirety to make sure it is entertaining in every way.
DavidThomas
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Frank,

I feel you did not really understand my question.

To clarify what I am asking, please refer to this link of my show opening:

http://youtu.be/uMy4U3Ql4Fc

Flambe is an appearance of a person, which I believe is not considered a "box" or an enclosed space by the lay audience.

Fire Cage, I am unsure of. If I were to do the blammo in this spot, I would be sure that it is a "box" and perceived as such.

Spiker is obviously a "box"

My original question asked what illusions do my peers think the lay audience would consider a "box". And more specifically does the group feel fire-cage is considered a "box" Fire Cage blurs the lines as it is not technically an enclosed space.

Would Crystal Casket be a better choice? Or should I be doing "instababe" in this place? Or some other appearance"

If these were the only illusions in my show, I would not be asking the question. But I always gravitate to Origami, Sub Truck (whether the standard, or my airiel versions) Twister ect. Which are boxes. Others like Goddess, Nascar, Death Drill, ect are strong components are not "boxes" and thus give a variety.

Yes, a mix of effects are important. But also a show with "peaks and valleys", different appeals on the emotional level, combination of intimate moments and high production "eye candy."

My only goal it to use this thread to be self introspective and hopefully be of help to the "art of grande Illusion."

Frank, I disagree that you feel it is a "completely erroneous question" but feel it is a very worthy question to be poised on the Grande Illusion thread. One that if can't be asked without ridicule to my peers at large, then what is a "valid question."
David Thomas
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ClintonMagus
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The first three illusions are all "box illusions", regardless of whether they have walls. The first two are, in my mind, the same illusion. Also, it has always bothered my for a magician to produce a beautiful girl, then immediately try to skewer her. Once you produce her, build some sort of rapport with her, or at least develop a story line before impaling her.

This is somewhat off-topic, but I think you would be better served by encasing the illusions within a routine. Once of my favorite examples of this is Steve Wyricks's hotel lobby "vignette" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1jZHN1198 ). I don't know whether this was (or should be) an opener, but it gives the audience something to watch and enjoy other than a barrage of loud music and flashing lights.

Also, look at Antoine et Val ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiFsYxJqLiI ). Come to think of it, Cube-Ism might make for a good change of pace.

Also remember that Doug Henning began his show with Fickle Nickel, which is just about as opposite as you can get from most illusionists' openers.
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DavidThomas
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ClintonMagus, Can not disagree with you on the Fire Cage or Spiker, but what is your thinking on "flambe" being a box illusion? My take it is just a platform as far as the audience perceives.
David Thomas
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ClintonMagus
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It's a three-dimensional rectangular frame. In my mind, that makes it a box. If it were just a base, the perception would be different. If you put bars on the front, you would have a fire cage.

Does the framework serve a purpose other than giving the girls something to climb on?
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DavidThomas
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Yes the framework is for the curtain to travel. In the corporate world I work in, rigging this would be very difficult. My second flambe which is my backup, is just two straight poles which does not allow my dancers to climb.
David Thomas
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