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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Dress Rehearsal and Performance (25 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ray Pierce
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Sorry, to not have been able to respond faster. We've been in 3 different countries in 5 days. I would agree with Danny that for the most part, the tech rehearsal/Bump & Tech/Q2Q (Cue to Cue) is the MOST vital rehearsal for most of our shows in new venues where we are interfacing with a new crew. To be fair, for our touring shows I'm running now, we have a dedicated crew that travels with us so it eliminates most of the tech rehearsals. We have a dedicated TD who runs lights, sound and video FOH, Our head electrician runs shifts to follow spot for the show and I call the show backstage so it is usually flawless every night regardless of the crew we get at each venue. If you don't have that luxury (which most of us don't), then the tech rehearsal is the most critical part of coordinating the on stage artists with the backstage artists which bring the show to life. I have always refused to think in term of "artists" and "crew". Everyone I work with professionally in most cases is a true artist working with us to make us look good on stage and thus deserve our respect and understanding for the time it takes for their craft. I also understand the difference in performance scale when going from live theater to the intimacy of TV or especially film. That is a very important discussion but again, seems out of place when discussing the specific need for a "dress rehearsal".

For me, outside of magic, dress rehearsals are usually to work out costuming issues, changes, and other specific problems that could arise in that area. Magicians are frequently more costume dependent than other variety acts due to steals, loads etc. so yes, as a subset we would frequently require more time rehearsing with those pieces due to our specific needs. When working with a major theme park conglomerate that must go unmentioned, the costume characters will frequently do a "Heads & Hands" rehearsal which is just working in the heads, hands (and frequently feet) to work out the logistics and staging in a realistic way so that they get used to accommodating the idiosyncrasies of each individual character. Again, each artist has their own needs when it comes to rehearsal on the road to mastery.

Television and film are just different things all together.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
Dannydoyle
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Oh one thing I would add to that Ray is trying to figure out "wing space" and specifically with magic acts where props "live" when not in use. How do you get them on stage and off stage and such. It can be an odd dance step depending upon a 1,000 variables.

Though technically this is usually in tech rehearsal or the cue to cue. But it has not been mentioned and it is a VITAL part of live performance.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Ray Pierce
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Absolutely! Typically we work out some of that when we advance the venue but the reality is always unique once we arrive. When I was touring the illusion show we were usually in similar venues (1500 - 2500 seat theaters) which all had similar footprints. It was always interesting to me that most theaters were very "one sided" in regards to wing space. We got around this as much as possible by having the main illusions for each act preset in one of the 4 wings on each side. At intermission we would switch out the props for Act 2 so their ultimate living location didn't matter as much. In the best case scenarios, we had enough crossover space upstage of the cyc to have all the road cases laid out open. As the props came off stage, they got shuttled to the back and packed. By the start of Act 2, the first act props were packed and on the dock. We packed the show out so fast we had to remind our self not to strike on 2 show days! We had 2 sided signs on the prop tables that said either "Strike" or "Reset" that saved us a lot of embarrassment. lol... it's the little things you figure out on the road.

Just finished striking the Tokyo show last night, heading back to LA today, then out to fix the Vegas show for a few days, 2 shows back in town, a few days developing some solutions for another Disney project, then heading back out for a North American tour the end of March. Couldn't be more exhausting and fun!
Ray Pierce
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Dannydoyle
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Yea.

I ran into a problem in a theater once that would have been HUGE if I was an illusion show. The wing space was sort of taken over by a house show! The props the set pieces and such lived there and the shows that came in during those runs had to make due. They had a problem with the storage space and such so this was the solution.

Just crap you run into when you tour the real world, not just talk about it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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Interesting points fellas, even though I can hardly relate to them as an amateur card guy. The only technical stuff I have to deal with is card technique. We card guys have to pay attention to them technical details but what makes it more difficult is that at the same time we also have to act. The acting side of it for me essentially means the patter, the technical side, the experiment. I get the point about the use of cloths; I am student Guy Hollingworth.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Ray Pierce
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Danny, we were once booked in a theater in Germany and when we got there, found out that it was a long run of Kinky Boots and we were booked on one of their dark nights. They had covered the full permanent set on stage in Black and we had to work around it! Another had just wrapped a huge production of Phantom and still had all the scenic elements backstage to work around.

Tommy, Shin Lim and many others have proved that cards can be theater. Imagine if you spent as much time on crafting a theatrically beautiful experience as you did on your sleights? Lighting, music, setting can all provide levels to elevate the performance from a simple card trick to something much more powerful. Never underestimate the power of a well crafted theatrical experience to raise the bar on your magic.
Ray Pierce
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Dannydoyle
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He DID spend that much on theatrical apparatus. We have yet to see if it can consistently draw money or not, but it is indeed theater.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On Feb 23, 2020, magicalaurie wrote:
When I said that I think many performers might "skip" dress rehearsal these days, I meant skip.
Are you looking at or working a show that does not run such rehearsals?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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What is beautiful? An effect where the magician perfectly balances the various opposite forces at play is beautiful to me. One can overdo the theatrics and rehearsals come to think of it.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
TomBoleware
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Beautiful is when Difficulty is disguised as Simplicity

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Ray Pierce
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Quote:
On Mar 4, 2020, tommy wrote:
What is beautiful? An effect where the magician perfectly balances the various opposite forces at play is beautiful to me. One can overdo the theatrics and rehearsals come to think of it.


Tommy, I'll admit that I have no idea what you're talking about as it is not at all defined. I agree that "beauty" is subjective. I just have no idea which specific opposite forces you're referring to.

As to thew second hypothesis, I'm not really sure of your POV or definitions. I would agree that coming off as too artificial in a performance isn't good but that is a false meaning of theater to me. That is in fact bad theater. When I did a LOT of intimate close up at Hollywood Magic, there was a huge amount of acting and theater involved. What needed to appear as totally spontaneous was entirely scripted and thoroughly rehearsed. It was the ability to make it seem spontaneous that is a testament to the acting involved and the credibility established, not the lack of rehearsal.

As to overdoing rehearsals, I'm not sure of your frame of reference but I would dare to say that most close up guys are under rehearsed as far as performance goes. The moves are well rehearsed but not the details and nuances that make the performance itself polished. Again, these are all elements of theater as a story teller. I will say that when I was working with J Neal years ago, he came up with a brilliant concept for professionals. He said that a pro should get a new act on stage when it was 80% ready as the final 20% could never be achieved in rehearsal but only in front of a live audience. I totally agree with this in a professional setting but I'm not sure it was what you were referring to in your post.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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The entertainment and magic are opposite forces; the former is based on fiction, the latter is based on fact in effect. The magician creates and balances these two interrelated opposites to create a magic dilemma. The magician goes about that by first creating a fiction by proposing something incredible, next with the rational facts of his magic experiment he proves his fiction true!

Too much entertainment will drown his magic and vice versa. It is all about balancing opposites; every action of the fictional story can describe the opposite of what actually takes place. Cardini does not drop his monocle for amusement purposes only. Cardini’s act is beautiful IMHO because he perfectly balances his fiction and facts.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
magicalaurie
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Clarity of effect?
tommy
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?

Francis Carlyle was a regular at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, CA, where he specialized in coin and card magic. Ricky Jay’s grandfather Max Katz told Jay, “When you watch Francis Carlyle, it’s not only technique and presentation. But listen to the way that he explains an effect with such clarity… that people go away knowing exactly what’s happened.”


https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters......ay/3622/

Moreover; “Charlie was inclined to work on the specifics of one particular move…and the finest points and finest subtleties of this particular move,” says Jay. “I probably learned from Charlie Miller more about how to refine practice …. Being in a room with Charlie and discussing a move…is one of the stranger kind of pleasures I’ve ever had in my life.”
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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"Cardini covers up every steal with a carefully designed, natural gesture. The monocle drops from his eye as he registers bewilderment; in that moment a steal has been made. A laugh comes when he blows smoke through a monocle he has been wearing, without a glass: another crucial move has occurred. An imitator at the Palladium once did his act down to the last move, without realizing why certain mannerisms he had copied were a part of the technical usefulness of the originator's act."

-The World's Most Imitated Magician written by JOHN BOOTH

The dropping of the monocle from the eye as he registers bewilderment and the blowing of smoke through it, etcetera, is part of Cardini’s fictional patter, even though a word is never spoken.

As my old friend Erdnase said, "The amateur conjurer who is not naturally blessed with a "gift of the gab" should rehearse his "Patter" or monologue as carefully as his action. The simplest trick should be appropriately clothed with chicanery or plausible sophistry which apparently explains the procedure but in reality, describes about the contrary of what takes place."

Because the fiction and the facts are interrelated one had better rehearse them in detail and together as a whole.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
magicalaurie
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My question was: Is it (Cardini's work) beautiful because it leads to clarity of effect?

I think it is. I think that's our goal and was Elvis', too, in his work, and though not having to deal with additional complexities of magic, we can see how well he accomplished it in the posted performance clips.

We're always working to get to the "essence", and that requires true precision. The muddling superfluous falls away as the essence is discovered.

Quote:
On Mar 5, 2020, tommy wrote:
Because the fiction and the facts are interrelated one had better rehearse them in detail and together as a whole.


Two sides of the same coin, or card, as it were.
tommy
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Cardini balances the opposite forces and thus his act in perfect harmony like Elvis.

I don't know what you mean Laurie by the clarity of effect.

Clarity of effect to me means, at the climax, it must be instantly clear that something impossible has occurred.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
magicalaurie
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I mean that the balance you speak of allows the effect to be clearly portrayed to the audience without it being undermined by visibly incongruent actions.

One of the books that I found has a discussion that may be quite helpful for any new magicians- or any magician- is Fitzkee's Magic by Misdirection. Regarding simulation and dissimulation.
Dannydoyle
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Of course we at some point should at least acknowledge that what you are doing is ascribing motive posthumously. If you can point me to a place where either Elvis or Cardini said these things I'd enjoy reading in their own words their thoughts on these subjects.

If not then it is little more than a guess.

Nothing inherently wrong with this, but it probably should be said.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2020, tommy wrote:
Clarity of effect to me means, at the climax, it must be instantly clear that something impossible has occurred.


Makes sense. Can you post video of magicians not accomplishing this? I can think of a few.

Do you also believe that "why" this impossible thing is happening is important? I believe this is where many fall short.

Also to stay on topic would the dress rehearsal have solved these issues? They seem a bit more deeply seeded than that to me.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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