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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Where is the strongest place to Position a prop? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of DarryltheWizard
Perform on a table top at the front with only the necessary props.

Perform beside your table, holding the prop at waist level

Perform in front of your table with the prop held at chest level

Perform between two tables with prop held at chest level

Perform effect turning body sideways with prop held at head level while gesturing with the other hand.

In my opinion the last one is of course the best. For example, if you have a black prop and are wearing black, the prop becomes invisible. The higher a prop is held the more importance it is given. When you hold a prop at waist level, many performers look at their hands or props too much, avoiding eye contact with the audience. I have seen many performers stooping behind tables and holding props at waist level.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for handling or ditching props in an efficient , artistic manner?
Darryl the Wizard
"Life without mystery is like a candle
with a snuffed out flame." Albert Einstein
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Profile of MichaelKent
There are too many things here to take into consideration in one thread. Props should be treated exactly how the audience thinks you should handle them. If the prop looks mystical, it should be held and treated thusly. If you are performing with everyday objects, then it may be important to treat them as you would at home. The importance is obviously making the prop play to the audience so they know what it is and can see it. One example, as Darryl mentioned is the black on black problem. I've seen several performers now perform with a black egg bag and a black tux. Things should be as simple as possible for the eyes of our audience.

As far as ditching props, I think it's important to disguise any ugly moves (like putting something away) with other moves that have a motive. For example, if you've just performed with a prop and would like to put it away, have another reason to get into the case/table where the prop will go. Usually, just picking up another prop is a good cover. This is where keeping a neat case and consistent prop placement is important.
Dave V
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Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

Profile of Dave V
I think Darryl's asking more about the physical logistics rather than care or attentiveness to the props.

I use color as much as I can for maximum contrast within the confines of my performing venue. Ren Faires tend to frown on neon pink Smile tending more toward earth tones. Rich colors like purples and reds are "reserved" for nobility and would not be appropriate for a performer of my status.

I wear black robes and either a black vest (doublet), or without the vest, a white shirt (as seen in my Avatar) so the color and positioning of props is important to me.

Rather than using a black or other dark work surface, I have a light beige table top so other dark items contrast nicely and are more visible while on the table. Coins are shiny gold or silver dubloons, silks are usually white, smaller "TT" silks are of course red or blue. Cards (seldom, but if I do) are large size, brightly colored Tarot cards appropriate for the period (as long as there are no historians present).

Anything I can do to create visibility is what I go for. Out of necessity, some of my props are dark colored, so I have to present them out and away from my body when holding them (they still look good on the light table though)

I have an extra tall "waiter's stand" table base that positions things several inches above my waist so when I do things like Cups and Balls, the cups when lifted are naturally chest high. This is the only thing I do behind the table, otherwise I step around front and perform chest high and "in the round" with arms spread for all to see.

Of course, this is in a Ren Faire setting and may not be appropriate for your venue so YMMV
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Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22840 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
Hire a beautiful assistant to bring out your equipment on a tray.

Depending on the prop, if everything you need is in your hands. Perform sleightly to the front of your table. If you are doing say the Chen Lee Water Suspension. You pick up the tube, then have to reach for the glass and replace on the table. Silk and wand can be in your pockets. So in this case you would play to the side of the table.

If you were doing Crystal Silk Cyclinder, you would play behind the table, until the climax and then move to the side to display the finale item.

As far a stooping, you can learn to reach for things while the audience is laughing, clapping, etc. All this come from performing. After each show, go over how the act could have been better.

A dump box can help, I use a folding knitting bag to drop items in after performing them.

Remember the more equipment you have the more tables or trays set up you will need. That is why many perfessionals use items that are small and play big as the saying goes.

The late great Neil Foster used as many as 13 tables on stage and moved to each one for the performance. His manipulation act you only used a table box.

Hope this helps.
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