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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Hero's Journey in Magic Scripts (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

deanpickles
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Has anyone written about using the Hero's Journey to map out a routine? I feel like this should have been touched on in Magic & Meaning -- I remember either Berger or Neale discussing Jane Yolen's writings around myth, which treads similar waters -- but I don't think it really was. I'm sure Berger talks about it briefly in Strange Ceremonies. Someone must have discussed it deeper, though. I'd love to read some thoughts of magicians better than I....
tommy
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I am only an amateur. I think the difference between a play and magic is that there is no denouement after the climax in magic: conflicts are not resolved; the audience is left in a dilemma. Thus, the structures for drama do not fit the bill for our magic. Our magic also is not set in the context of a fantasy world but in the context of the real world: it is magic because it cannot be here and now. The Hero's Journey is better suited for film and plays, perhaps.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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On May 13, 2019, deanpickles wrote:
Has anyone written about using the Hero's Journey to map out a routine? ...
Is the Dai Vernon presentation of the Triumph effect close enough? Our craft brings story to the audience in terms of effect - the story they tell others about what they saw happen.

Fables (stories) have frames. A guy named Propp did some interesting work on stories and culture that you might find useful when designing routines.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Pop Haydn
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Don't tell stories about the Trickster. Be the Trickster. People should be telling stories about you. "I saw this guy and he..."
deanpickles
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Ah, but Pop -- even with your dollar bill to raw egg, there's storytelling, and narrative, and plot. It's not just a trick. It's a trick with a story defining it. The advice is solid -- "Don't tell a tale" -- but I'm considering how the basic Joseph Campbell plot structure could be used to help direct the plot within the trick, and drive it further and deeper...
Jonathan Townsend
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Getting a volunteer up to be the star of a routine ... like in a kids show?

Call to adventure. Discovery of seemingly impossible challenge. A few false starts. Some initiation/instruction. It worked! Take a bow. Return to audience as a hero.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Pop Haydn
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On Jun 11, 2019, deanpickles wrote:
Ah, but Pop -- even with your dollar bill to raw egg, there's storytelling, and narrative, and plot. It's not just a trick. It's a trick with a story defining it. The advice is solid -- "Don't tell a tale" -- but I'm considering how the basic Joseph Campbell plot structure could be used to help direct the plot within the trick, and drive it further and deeper...


It may be that you will be forcing a form on the trick instead of discovering what is actually within needing to be told. Why slather meaning onto the trick before discovering what meaning is already there?

I am not saying you would do that, just warning that it is something to beware of...
The_Mediocre_Gatsby
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The Hero Cycle would make fine presentation frame if you were going to do a series of routines for a particular spectator over the course of a year or so. If I was going to do something like this, I would probably start with an idea like the one Andy outlines here: http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/6/12/a-......tle-idea

If I was going to do this, I would choose someone who I've recently had a conversation with about my interest in magic. A young person getting interested in magic would be perfect for this frame. Imagine if a mysterious package appeared at their door one day with some basic instructions and a short note from some enigmatic man halfway across the globe. The instructions would reference their recent interest in magic and explain to bring the package to you in order to experience it together. And off you go.
tommy
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“Derren Brown plans on creating a scenario where his subject, Phil, a man who believes that America has an ‘immigration problem’, will willingly sacrifice his own life for a stranger he wouldn’t identify with, specifically an illegal immigrant.”

https://www.unilad.co.uk/film-and-tv/der......ts-life/


Escape artists tend to save themselves whereas heroes tend to save others.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
deanpickles
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Yeah, Derren Brown and Andy J are definitely primo users of the technique. I should go re-read Amateur at the Kitchen Table...
Jonathan Townsend
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On Jun 11, 2019, deanpickles wrote:
...and drive it further and deeper...


That's a different kind of issue. First they have to give you permission to affect them at all. Awkward procedures and obviously specious magical cues don't help.

Jerry Deutsch has been sharing fine short routines which leave room for your character to be seen or perhaps change as your act goes along.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Jonathan Townsend
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Getting back to myth: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-i-sel......_6739046
His may well be a more useful approach for us. Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Patter calls on the imagination and so patter like a book can take the company on a magic carpet ride to far-away places, without them ever leaving their chairs. The magician can claim he had an adventure and discovered some lost ancient knowledge at some other place and time. The lost ancient knowledge gives him the apparent ability to do something thought impossible and so then by way of an experiment he proves the fantastic story true. Put simply, the conjurer can conjure up the hero’s journey in their head. The story incidentally best not be believable: indeed it has to be received with absolute incredulity in order to give him something incredible to prove to create the dilemma when proved.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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On Jun 26, 2019, tommy wrote:
Patter calls on the imagination and so patter like a book can take the company on a magic carpet ride to far-away places, without them ever leaving their chairs. The magician can claim he had an adventure and discovered some lost ancient knowledge at some other place and time. The lost ancient knowledge gives him the apparent ability to do something thought impossible and so then by way of an experiment he proves the fantastic story true. Put simply, the conjurer can conjure up the hero’s journey in their head. The story incidentally best not be believable: indeed it has to be received with absolute incredulity in order to give him something incredible to prove to create the dilemma when proved.


I like this very much, tommy. IF the sonic screwdriver actually works, and IF the Tardis is actually bigger inside than outside, THEN Dr. Who may be telling the truth, and he IS a time lord and the world IS being invaded by Daleks...You should give him the help he is asking.

Whether the story is presented as serious and important or tongue-in-cheek absurd fantasy, the magic event is framed as existing as part of a story that exists in the past and continues on into the future after the show. This story isn't "told" in the performance, but is the backstory that explains what the magician is doing here in this performance, and why. The audience may find hints and suggestions about this story in the performance, but this little piece of the story--the performance--is a distinct and necessary part of the overall tale.
deanpickles
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That's actually a really interesting twist to the concept. It's part of the silent script, not the spoken one. Perfect!!
tommy
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Smile

Dr Who, we knew him well: when he was real and we were not. When one meets Dr Who on the street it is not he who gets into character because he IS. JP, he was a wonderful guy.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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