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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Setting up for the show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of fccfp
I do a lot of kids and family shows. Backyards, restaurants, schools, etc. I use my flying carpet as a table through the entire show. I start with all the props arranged on top (i.e. sq circle, what's next, split deck, needle through ballon). As the show progresses I clear the table. As an item is used, either my assitant or I, will toss/place it in an open suitcase "offstage." This case is usually draped with several large scarfs to "make it look magical" or at least not like an open suitcase. This allows me to get to everything easily and serves as visual cues as to where I am in my show and what I will do next.

Does anyone else work this way? Do you prefer to keep everything out of sight till yo use it? If I had a set stage and several assistants I would have everything brought in and carried off. Where I am working that is not practical. Any thoughts?
A.K.A. Jay The Magician
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Re: Flying Carpet doubling as a table...Clever idea, and very resourceful.

Re: Open suitcase... For my kids' show, part of my show is transported in a large plastic foot locker/trunk with a hinged lid. During the show, I leave it nearby with the lid open, appropriately draped for looks. It serves as my "dump" station. At the end of the show, I produce a fairly large scary gorilla puppet from behind a seance cloth. That whole arrangement gets dropped into the trunk at the end and the lid slammed shut... we (the kids & I) are all "safe" and my stuff is secured until I can re-organize and pack in privacy.

Concerning the visible arrangement of props, that is a matter of preference. Many, many years ago, magicians would display all their apparatus at the rear of the stage almost as a badge of honor to show how much magic they could do. they would pick up some prop, do the trick and either put it back or have it carried off stage.

"Greater Magic", published in 1938, documented a trend toward simplification, which has carried through pretty much to the present. However, I think that the more cluttered look (and not meaning this in a derogatory sense) can possibly be effective when used to visually stimulate childrens' interest in your show. Some of your apparatus visibly displayed can actually serve to peak their curiosity and anticipation, possibly avoiding a wandering eye toward other, non-related stimuli.

When I was a kid in the 1960's and seeing my first magic shows, I remember magicians having much of their stuff openly displayed. I found it quite appealing. I couldn't wait to see what the magician might do with it all.

Care must be used though, that it

a) doesn't distract from that which you want them to focus upon, and

b) doesn't make your stuff vulnerable to those occasional "break-away" children with curious fingers. Three and four year olds can start a riot faster than a stadium full of European soccer fans.

I do feel that some things are best kept out of sight until needed... there should be a few visual surprises! For these items, I keep mine on the shelves of a niteclub-type table, or otherwise out of sight.

Do what you are comfortable with. It's your show!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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I attended a lecture years ago where the lecturer showed how as he did each trick he figured a way (that was entertaining and didn't give anything away) to RE-SET each trick and put it right back in the same place within his Merv Taylor Su-Table (same as Jack Hughes table).

This way, doing school assembly shows, he could just close the case, go to the next school (nearby--clever booking) and just start to work without any setup time.

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Michael: thanks for the comments. When I set up all the "clutter is on My table, with the exception of My head chest & 1 or 2 other items that just wont fit. I also have some items set up behind the screen on the flying carpet to keep them out of sight. I do this w/ Breakables, My fire eating stuff, and any thing that can be "angley". I put the stuff ther for two reasons: it makes it very easy to get to everything because I clear the table as I go. This leaves a bare table top for Flycrpt. Also, if something is sitting right there, I am less likely to forget it. Smile As far as gaining ane holding their attention; isn't that what this is all about. Smile You are right of course, Ya gotta watch the kids. I drape the table after seting up & hide every thing under the drape until right before I go on. I also have a really neat way of covering the flying carpet completly after perfoming, because, yes, the kids will walk back there to figure it out.

Pete: that sounds like a dream set up. I can see how that could be w/ sponge balls in the pocket or even a zombie. But how do you re-stock a production item. I mean, after you pull 3 doz silks, 2 parasols, five bouquets, a lit candle and a baby elephant out of a small production item? For me, I have to fold and load everything carefully so that everything stays in the order I want it to come out while taking up the minimum amount of space. If you can tell me how to reset a Fantasio cane on the fly I would be very grateful. Smile
A.K.A. Jay The Magician
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