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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Bizarre Magic performances - Routines (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Seance
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Hello all,

I'd like your thoughts about the subject of routines in performing bizarre magic. By that, I mean what would be considered a GOOD performance that deals with bizarre magic?

Right now, I perform exclusively in seance or spirit theater, which makes it easier (not easy!) to pull together a story with bizarre effects that relate to the story. A typical seance will last around 30 - 45 minutes and deal with perhaps a recreation of a murdered soul seeking justice, or lovers reunited. The effects are, of course, of the 'ghostly' kinds: raps, whispers, PK, apports, writing, etc.

Here is the vexing problem: I'd like to branch out into more than the spirit theater model of bizarre magic. For example, Caleb Strange's wonderful stories, especially 'For I Have Done a Great and Terrible Thing', is showing me where I'd like to go. The thing is that it and other stories (such as found in the bizarre magic books [Capricornian Tales, Invocation,Journeys into Grey, etc.] ) are just that: stories. There is no relationship between the individual stories, excellent as they are. Each story could take about 10 - 20 minutes (effect[s] included) to perform. How can you take multiple stories and make it a coherent performance?

I gather one way to mesh some of the stories together would be similar to what Jim Magus did in 'The Magus Video', which was to show items from his collection, tell the story and perform the effect. It was very effective, but I'm wondering if there is another way?

Any thoughts would be helpful.

Thanks,
Dave
Necromancer
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Quote:
On 2004-01-28 16:40, Seance wrote:

I gather one way to mesh some of the stories together would be similar to what Jim Magus did in 'The Magus Video', which was to show items from his collection, tell the story and perform the effect. It was very effective, but I'm wondering if there is another way?


Chelman does the same thing.

But there are plenty of ways to do a cohesive show of storytelling magic: short story collections do this all the time. Perhaps all your stories deal with aspects of the same theme (the show I'm currently staging is about paranormal happenings around Chicago). Or they add up to a larger story arc (the path to becoming a wizard, etc.). Or they were all written by the same author (Docc Hilford wrote and sells a whole show themed around the writings of Lovecraft; David Parr does a well-regarded Poe presentation).

Best of luck,
Neil
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
Seance
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The obvious stares me at the face! Smile

I should have thought of that as much as I like anthologies with a theme.


Thanks much, Neil.
kaytracy
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I think it might depend on the effects you have in mind. There is always a way to tie things together in a story or plot line, your latest finds at the local auction, or some such!
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Bill Palmer
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If you remember Rod Serling's television show "Night Gallery," you will remember how each story was connected to a painting.

You could do the same thing with a collection of bizarre magic stories.

Sometimes magicians forget that the stories really have to be good ones. And sometimes when the stories are told, they are in a kind of speech that the magician would never use, even when telling those stories.

Storytelling is a very specialized art form.
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Mr Amazing
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Quote:
Necromancer wrote:
...short story collections do this all the time. Perhaps all your stories deal with aspects of the same theme [...] Or they add up to a larger story arc


This may be exactly what Neil is referring to, but I thought it is a worthy theme with potential so I'll mention it:

The old "Canterbury Tales" (Chaucer?), I recall, is about a group of different individuals on a trip. They all share their individual stories, as their common trip passes along. We as the readers thus follow both the bigger story and the individual ones.

I'm no story teller (I'm not even a bizarrist), but I believe such a story-theme may have a lot of potential. For one, it would be easy to add and subtract individual passengers (i.e stories/effects), and second, the trip in itself should provide a nice methaphor for the act with a most natural start, middle and reaching of destination.
Peter Marucci
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Seance asks: "what would be considered a GOOD performance that deals with bizarre magic?"

Mine.


Smile
Caleb Strange
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Dave,

Many thanks for your kind words.

You ask an important question - how do we maintain a sense of thematic wholeness and dramatic coherence in our work? I think it depends very much on the kind of show you have in mind.

As has been said, you can base your show around a unifying theme. For example, a presentation exploring local legends and accounts of assorted weirdness. Or urban legends. Or conspiracy theories. Or Medieval ghost stories. Or 'earth mysteries' (stone circles etc.). And so on.

Or you can base it around a particular place - maybe the house you're working in has its own compendium of stories? Or you can do what I've done, from time to time, and take people out for a story-telling walk: find the right location(s) and this can be very satisfying (if nothing else, the journey and its stop-off points impose a certain shape on your show).

More expensively, you can develop your own venue, and tailor it to your artistic needs...

I must say, I DO like Matias' Chaucerian idea - it's something I've played around with, and it can be taken into many exciting directions.

I think Bill raises very interesting points about the stories we tell. I always apply what I call the Marucci Rule. By that I mean that if the story we wish to tell is not interesting enough to be told by itself, without the safety net of magic, then perhaps we should find a better story. (Peter said this some time ago, and I now have it tattooed to the inside of my eyelids - it's that important, I feel). Something else I do is to give myself time to forget a new story. And if I do forget it, then I generally assume that the story isn't right for me at this present time.

Finally, I heartily recommend immersing yourself in stories, and spending time with them - then learn a few that appeal to you. Over time you will find these stories floating back to the surface - occasionally they seem to demand to be told, or something will happen that gives you a different understanding of something that you thought you already understood. These stories, then, become a resource for you in performance - and life in general - and you will find that you can draw on them as and when you need.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
CardFan
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If you read French you should really consider buying Compendium Sortilegionis (the last Chelman) from which you will find all what you've asked here.

By the way, I never saw Peter Marucci's performance by myself but I heard a lot of good from friends who did...
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Necromancer
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By the by, my new show is called "Supernatural Chicago," and it's running every Friday night at Excalibur nightclub in downtown Chicago beginning Friday the 13th (of February).

If you're so inclined, read all about it here:
http://www.supernaturalchicago.com
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
ellisd
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Anybody read the illustrated man by Ray Bradbury? You could have some fake tattooes applied and each one would have a story attached to it. Clive Barkers "Books of Blood" are all stories written on the skin of a man who was pretending he could talk to the dead and thusly punished.
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