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Aus
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Hi All

I would just like to express an opinion of mine about stage illusionists. It has seemed to me for a long while that a lot of stage illusions revolve around a lot of box magic. I watched Chuck Jones once and the constant barrage of boxes he pulled out like Zig Zag Lady, Shadow Box lady production and so on seem to get a little stale after a while; I was looking of a little bit more of a verity. He did do some more intermit magic at particular intervals but when the big Illusions came back out it just seemed to be more boxes. There is a heap of more slim line Illusions around like walking through a mirror etc, I just wondered if other people thought that stage magicians have this box fixation.

Magically

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kingsnqueens
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Hey yeah! And have you noticed a lot of card magicians use playing cards?

Merry Christmas!
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Bob Sanders
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And then there is mental magic. Guess what they play with?

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Pakar Ilusi
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I agree that there is a "Box" fixation amongst illusion designers.

I think it's due to the fact that "square"-shaped illusions are "easier" to make than other more "exotic" shapes.

Even Copperfield can only substitute the "Box"-design once in awhile, and he has almost unlimited funds as it is.

Anyone who can get away from this "look" will have a distinct advantage appearance-wise, IMHO.

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Aus
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Quote:
On 2003-12-23 20:52, kingsnqueens wrote:
Hey yeah! And have you noticed a lot of card magicians use playing cards?

Yeah, that's right, and since we call card magic, card magic, why not call Stage Illusions, box magic. It's your rationale mate.

Magically

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Alikzam
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Quote:
On 2003-12-23 21:20, Bob Sanders wrote:
And then there is mental magic. Guess what they play with?


Same thing as my girlfriend, my mind.
Smile
MarkFarrar
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I wrote a similar article, entitled "To Wave Or Not To Wave?", some time ago, which is now available on Duncan Trillo's excellent MagicWeek website (http://www.magicweek.co.uk/) - it's in the Articles section.
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Peter Loughran
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But who's tired of the boxes? Magicians? Or the Public? I could care'less if magicians are tired of box-like illusions.

The public however still seem to enjoy the large classic box-like illusions, and that's all I care about when selecting props for a show, and I have a feeling am not alone on this one.

I do feel that the box-like illusions are ideal for travelling performers such as myself, becuase a lot of them you can do without special lighting, you can do a lot of them surrounded, a lot of them are self-contained, etc. So this makes the props more adaptable for venues that may not be exactly what you where hoping for when you arrive, or knowing that when you spend $5,000 on a prop you can use it anywhere, stage, tv, in a frigin circus tent if you needed to...etc. I think this is an appeal for professionals.

Anyway Im done rambling.

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skilusion
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Personally, I think if a person can come up with illusions that don't use boxes then they might be the next big thing. I truly believe that nothing is impossible but an illusions without boxes (this includes clothe that makes the shape of a box) is probably as close to impossible as you will get.
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Aus
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Well guys a throught that crosses my mind after seeing box after box is why could'nt he have done that with the last box he had out. Not an unresonable question I don't think and a throught I would not be surprised if a spectator had himself.

Magically

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philblackmore
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You need to look at the effects achieved rather than just the boxes used.Most box illusions seem to involve putting the assistant in then penetrating the box with swords, or zig-zaging the box, or folding the box smaller, or chopping the box into bits. These are all different ways of doing essentially the same trick. Yet I've seen illusion acts do one box after another box all with the same basic effect. Penetration/mutilation or something similar.

There does seem to be a move away from boxes over recent years, the uncovered sawing in half illusions, the Laser, Cris Angels version of the A-frame. This can only be good as it makes the actual effect clearer and much more impressive to the audience.
I can see Peter's comment on practicality being true. All magic seems to be a conflict between the perfect effect and the practicalities of the methods used to achieve it.



How much are audiences impressed by big props I wonder?I hear of cruise lines only booking acts that do big illusions, so there must be a demand for them. Surely at the end of the day it comes down to how the performer uses them, not the size of the props.
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Aus, again I don't think that most audiences think as you do...about the fact that why a performer couldn't do every trick with the same box thing that you mentioned. I think as long as they are being entertained then they are happy. I think most audiences are intellegent enough these days to know that what they are seeing is not real magic but an illusion.

Phil you couldn't have said it any better!

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Aus
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Do spectators care? Well that is the million-dollar question. Dai Vernon was not a neglecter of small details. He saw things like the fault in the double lift as when the card was lifted and shown the magician would then place it back on the deck, then deal it on the table. The question was why place the card back on the deck when it could be simply placed on the table after the display. Vernon created a reason for placing the card back on the deck and that was placing the card on top of the deck well he moves an object with his free hand so the dealing to the table was unobstructed. A small detail but one he thought was important none the less.

When Darwin in his book “Strong Magic” talks about things like “Accidental Convincers”, “Incidental Convincers” and “Universal Experience” does the spectator care or know the difference? I would not think he would write a book if he didn’t think so. So my point is that if all these things are with in the realm of spectators understanding that a magician would make an effort to do something about them, how would it be that a spectator wouldn’t pick up on the box thing?

Magically

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Peter Loughran
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2 Different degrees of the point you are trying to make. The latter of your post above refers to "Switches" If you do something that does not make sense or perhaps looks suspicious than a switch is thrown in the specators head, and that leads them to suspicions. Therefore a "reason" or "motive move" must be implimented into the routine to avoid arousing suspicion. And I agree with this 100% for alot of magic, espicially when doing sleight of hand.

With Box illusions I don't think this really applies so much for obvious reasons. I have been performing illusions for over 20 years now, and never once have I had a spectator wonder why I used more than one Illusion(or as you may call it box) in my show. They know that what I am doing is an illusion, they know that Im not really cutting a girl in half, etc. that's why it is called an illusion show. I don't claim to have special powers, I am an entertainer, and that's what I do, I entertain, and my audiences always seem entertained, so I know I have done my job correctly, even using a box or two. Because I build a story around each prop, and try and create an atmosphere around each illusion, there are no switches thrown. I guess that's why I agree with Phil when he says "Surely at the end of the day it comes down to how the performer uses them(props), not the size of the props."

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Ray Anderson
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I believe that if you are doing your job correctly, the audience is more interested in you than your props. I consider the “box” type illusion just another tool in my arsenal. Although I would never string a bunch of box effects together in a show lineup,
I certainly wouldn’t limit myself by avoiding them. Why not take advantage of all your resources? I find that variety adds to the entertainment. After all, isn’t that the main goal?

Ray
Pakar Ilusi
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Phil said "Surely at the end of the day it comes down to how the performer uses them, not the size of the props."

I just have to say it....

It's not the "size", it's the "technique"! If you get my drift... Smile

Ok... back to the discussion... Ehemmm....

I sincerely feel that within the script that a Magician uses for a show, the "source" of the "Magic" should be clear. Is the Magician doing the "Magic" or is it the "box" that's doing the "Magic"?

If it's the Magician, then too many supposedly "normal" boxes would seem unusual, especially if the effect performed is similar. Why cut or mutilate an assistant in different boxes? Why not just use the same box? Why use a box even if you have "Magic"?

If however, it's the box itself that's doing the "Magic" (or effect) as in a machine-type prop(think teleportation-device ala Star Trek) or a torture-device (think "Crusher" etc...), then the usage of a "box" makes more sense imho, so long as it's designed to look like a "plausible" apparatus designed to do the effect... As in a Crusher, it err... crushes...

Of course, you don't have to answer this question if in the first place, you do not actually care "where" the "Magic" originates from... As Peter has said, in reality the audience knows that we're merely entertainers, and the boxes are there just for their entertainment pleasure through our use of the medium of illusion... And he has 20 years performing experience to back up his statement... So I would heed his advice...

I personally however, prefer to have it all kinda "make sense" within the storyline of my show... Like a movie plot that has lessened it's loopholes... Meaning, technically, this box does this because no other box can do this... Because it's "magical" or is a "machine" etc... I am the Magician because I have harnessed and channelled whatever "powers" (scientific or magical) through these "machines" or "portals" etc...

But that's just me...

And to get back to the topic, the box-illusion exists because of the practicality of the "box" shape when it comes to designing and making props imho... Other shapes have been designed and made but from my limited experience, they seem to lend themselves to storage and assembly obstacles that can be done away by designing the illusion in a box-shape in the first place... However, if the Magician is willing to put up with these obstacles, I believe he or she will have a distinctively different if not original look to his or her illusion show... It is after all a visual art and any illusion design which is markedly different than what audiences are used to would be literally "eye-catching"...

But then, there's the performance of it... But that's a different topic altogether...

Well...., thanks if you've actually read this far into my ramblings... Smile

Disclaimer: All of the above should be taken with a pinch of salt... (appearing and vanishing salt even...) as it is just my limited experience and thoughts on the subject matter.

Smile
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Aus
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Quote:
On 2004-01-07 21:37, Peter Loughran wrote:
2 Different degrees of the point you are trying to make.


Yes you are right, and it is these two degrees that show exactly the varsity of the spectators mind. Through the “reason” or “motive” as you put may be different and applied different in that instance I do believe the same principles applies in stage magic. As someone else has said, why do you need to use another box? Why not use the same box? That seems to be reason enough for me, through reason in a different context to my example, its reason none the less.



[/quote]
I have been performing illusions for over 20 years now, and never once have I had a spectator wonder why I used more than one Illusion(or as you may call it box) in my show.
[/quote]

How often does a stage magician go into an audience after a show and get to ask questions as to what they thought. It’s through my experience as a spectator and through talking to other magicians that have stage show of there own such things is at times is an impossibility. This is because of the naturel involvement is such shows that keep the magician on very tight schedule. Preparing the effects before the show, making final checks and so forth, then after the show which is equally busy with having to pack up all stage illusions and load them up on the truck etc. These things all take time and when you think about it leaves very little in terms of audience interaction after the show.

[/quote]
They know that what I am doing is an illusion, they know that Im not really cutting a girl in half, etc. that's why it is called an illusion show. I don't claim to have special powers, I am an entertainer, and that's what I do, I entertain, and my audiences always seem entertained, so I know I have done my job correctly, even using a box or two. Because I build a story around each prop, and try and create an atmosphere around each illusion, there are no switches thrown.
[/quote]

There was never any question as to weather one portrayed them self as a person who does real magic or not. I watch many movies knowing there fictional and not true, yet I still often come away asking my self questions that just don’t seem to add up in the plot, actions taken or the story line.

Magically

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Aroy
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There are boxes and then there are boxes.

How about the art direction of the final design? If the theme is relevant, and the design (both in construction and art)is good, then it is all up to the performer to then create the "magic". With all the different and varied approaches to design and the never ending new materials that are being made available in construction, there is no excuse for a box to look anything like the next box brought out.
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I hate to point out the obvious, but "using different boxes" for different effects is PART of the entertainment value!!! Just as a musician using different chord structures, a clothing designer using different materials, and a movie director using different locations to tell his story. ALL these examples "could" make use of the same: chords, material,locations, and yes BOXES, to do the same job, but how boring, dull, and uninspiring would that be?



Jack Murray
mvmagic
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I don't know whether I have anything to add to this brilliant conversation but still gonna pitch in.

Audience really does not care about the boxes. Boxes are VERY deeply associated with magic. The audience knows-even if subconciously-what an illusion is "supposed" to look like. And it is not the box that counts but the illusion itself, the story surrounding the box. Again we encounter the importance of presentation. Granted that in hands of an unexperienced or untalented magician a box is just a box, but when given enough thought and proper presentation it IS magic even though the box is still there.

Like Peter said, boxes work in many different venues and a lot of them are surroundable which brings great versatility to the game. Our most magnifficent appearence is lightning fast, just incredible and it uses no boxes. However it can be performed only on the stage it was built for-and that quite frankly bugs me a lot. I like doing it and it appears like real magic but I cant take it with me so in a way that boxless thing makes me look bad-at least if someone expects me to do it elsewhere.

Using different boxes with different designs also works in another way. If you do many illusions with the same prop, identical prop (theming your act is a different thing) or just the same base, someone will likely pay attention to it and start wondering what is so special about that table etc. Even though the principle-lets say a base-is the same in many things the effects are different and therefore require their own boxes and different designs.
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