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ReDeFiNe
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Dear all,

I recently bought a doll house illusion. Any interesting ideas on its presentation?

I was thinking of like a costume trunk illusion presentation or just simple direct appearence.

thanks!

redefine...
Jeremy Pei
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Marshall Thornside
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Is it a dollhouse for one person or
for 2 people and a bit stuff animal?

I ask because my dad built one for me.
Then he built a larger one that he once
produced Jay Marshall (and you know how tall
he is).
you will remember my name

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ReDeFiNe
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Oh it's a doll house for 1 person, standard sit down position. Thanks a lot for you inputs.
Jeremy Pei
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George Ledo
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It depends on your own persona and who your audiences are. If you're doing (very) little kids, a fairy-tale story works fine; for older kids, do a takeoff on the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings idea (an interesting story based on a magical character who lives in a cottage); for adults, I'd go with something along the lines of "this is the architect's model of a house... turns out the decorator came with it," which is a spoof of all the home-decor shows on TV nowadays. For a family audience, the magical-character story works fine. Good luck.
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Chuck Lyons
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When I was in college years ago and did a stage show like a real magician , I used the doll house to tell a story of a forrest. The poor boy his old shoes in the house and got a new pair of shoes, he then put a empty pot in the house and it is full of gold or money, and finally he puts in a doll with a dress on and low and behold a beautiful girl apears wearing the same dress (only larger) and they live happliy ever after.

Hope this helps. Chuck
Marshall Thornside
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Our magic shows theme was Chinese based since
my father is Chinese to begin with. So when he
made the dollhouse he built it with an Asian
flare of course.

One thing is that I did do a
costume change in the doll house.
you will remember my name

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hugmagic
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When I did it, I had the girl come out with a Mutilated Parasol (which she quickly opened) and made a much bigger looking production. Then I flowed right into the parasol routine.
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jcsum
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Hi,

Here are my ideas on reinvented presentations for the Doll House illusion.

Firstly, I think it is very important to justify the presence of the Doll House and put the illusion into context. Too often, stage illusions do not present motivation in their presentation (as much as close-up magic does). To put the Doll House appearance of a person in an illusion show/ act without setting the proper context, while still visually interesting and surprising, does not have the same intellectual/ psychological impact if it were presented with ‘theatrical logic’. For example, the most basic way to justify the use of the Doll House is to have a toy store stage setting. The Doll House amongst a setting of other toys and toy store props will look ‘theatrically natural’.

I offer five different presentational suggestions that give motivation, credibility and logic to the performance of the Doll House illusion. The set-ups should be self explanatory in the descriptions of the presentations.


Hollywood Doll House

For this presentation, you need a doll in a Hollywood glamorous dress and your female assistant in an identical dress loaded in the Doll House.

Introduce the illusion by giving some insight into the techniques used in moviemaking. (Since you are in the entertainment business, you are privy to this kind of info – if not, do some research). Patter how moviemakers often use miniatures to create different types of shots and effects if it is not possible to shoot the real thing. Give specific examples of miniatures used in the making of well-known films. Using this patter as the starting point, bring out the Doll House, explaining that you have obtained an actual miniature model of a mansion that was used in a recent movie. Open the front doors of the Doll House to display miniature pieces of furniture instead, which you then remove and place aside.

Next, you also reveal that moviemakers often employ what is known as a ‘blue screen’ technique to combine two or more pieces of film into one piece that looks very real. You then take out a blue/ green cloth or you can also magically produce the cloth if you like.

Having introduced both props, you patter:

“In film, producers create the illusion of reality on screen. In magic, magicians create reality out of illusion live on stage.”

These words cue your music and you hold up the green cloth in front of the open Doll House, shielding the inside from view. Under cover of the cloth, your assistant opens the secret doors and places the doll in the center of the Doll House. You whisk away the cloth revealing the magical appearance of the doll.

Remove the doll and toss the cloth aside. Close up the Doll House and revolve it 360 degrees. Lift off the roof to reveal your assistant!

This presentation would be even better if you produce a real movie star. Something to think about if pitching for a special event that may have a movie/ television celebrity…


Doll Magic

If you want to perform the Doll House straight in a silent flashy style presentation, here is a presentation that focuses on the doll and features the appearance of the girl as a kicker effect. This is atypical of a Doll House presentation and adds a punch to the illusion.

Introduce the illusion by pattering: “When I first started out in magic, I could not afford a real assistant… so I made do with this!”

Display the Doll House and open the front doors. The house is empty save for a cloth doll dressed in a blue dress. You produce a yellow handkerchief and wave it in front of the doll. Magically, the doll’s dress changes into a yellow one. You next change the yellow handkerchief into a red one. Waving the now-red handkerchief in front of the doll, the doll’s dress magically changes into a red one. (The triple doll costume change can be achieved with a double faced/ double costumed doll followed by a complete ‘flip-over’ dress so that the final dress can be shown all around casually.)

The doll is now magically vanished using your ‘favourite’ method J. I recommend using a Bengal Net prop to vanish the doll into confetti. Having performed this ‘Doll to Confetti’ effect myself for a corporate launch, I can attest that this is visually very strong, especially if you attach a flash device with sparkle addictive at the top of the ‘frame’. Of course, the colour of the confetti must match the colour of the doll’s costume. Performed right, it will look like the doll visibly disintegrates into confetti.

After the vanishing of the doll, gesture back to the Doll House. This should psychologically lead the audience to think that doll will return to the Doll House. Close up the Doll House, revolve it 360 degrees and lift off the roof to reveal not the doll, but a real-life girl in the same red dress.


Tight Squeeze Doll House

This is my favourite idea of the lot and is the presentation I would use if I performed the Doll House. This presentation is logical and makes for a varied and very interesting performance piece. It is especially ideal for a Circus-themed variety or illusion show, although there is no reason why it will not fit into a straight show.

Hire a female contortionist for this illusion. Have her perform a short (2min) contortion act using her various props – rings, tubes etc. You will be her assistant for her act, to justify your presence. (The act is essentially performed as a two-person act, although she is doing all of the work.)

As the finale, the contortionist squeezes into the empty space of the small Doll House. (Typical Doll Houses are pretty small but a contortionist should be able to squeeze into it. The smaller, the better!) The contortionist squeezes out of the Doll House to applause. Just when the audience thinks the act is over, you close up the Doll House, revolve it 360 degrees and lift off the roof to reveal another girl. Strike a finale pose downstage with both girls at either side of you.

The great thing about this presentation is that although the contortionist’s props are not natural items, the audience accepts them as part of her props needed to perform her specialized act. Thus, when the Doll House is displayed, the audience also accepts it as a part of her props. The squeezing of the contortionist into the empty Doll House also emphasizes how small (and empty) it is without explicitly calling attention to that fact. Because of the tight squeeze of the contortionist in the Doll House, the effect is that much stronger when the second girl appears from within the Doll House.

For this version, ensure that your Doll House is built strong enough to hold the weight of two girls.


Spirit Doll House

This is basically the same presentation exposed on the ‘Breaking the Magician’s Code’ television show. The Doll House is a replica of a haunted house. Similar to a spirit cabinet presentation, strange occurrences happen behind the closed doors of the Doll House. As a finale, a ‘ghost’ appears from the house.

My only contribution is to add a ‘strange occurrence’ that happens in full view of the audience (i.e. the front doors of the Doll House are open) as one phase of the illusion presentation. This could be in the form of a ‘Telekinetic Timber’ or ‘Dancing Hank’ or ‘Rising Straw from Bottle’.


Audience Participation Doll House

This is an ideal presentation for kids & family shows and features an audience participation version of the illusion.

Introduce the illusion by pattering that old games shows always featured mystery prizes behind closed doors. Explain that you would like to give a kid a chance to win a mystery prize behind the closed doors of your ‘fun’ house. Bring out the Doll House and open it up to reveal a stand holding a number of pictures of stuff toys. A kid is invited onto stage and asked to pick his prize by freely selecting one of the pictures (forced/ rough & smooth) and showing to everyone – a teddy bear.

Continue pattering that if you were to win a prize you would like to win something different. Display a picture of a fairy. This cues your music and you close up the Doll House and revolve it around.

Lift off the roof to reveal a life-size fairy holding a teddy bear. The teddy bear is given to the kid who is invited back to his seat and the fairy and you strike a finale pose.

The Doll House should be cosmetically dressed up to look like a fun house or game show set.


I hope this inspires new ideas and presentations – so ‘doll up’ your new Doll House!

If you enjoy motivated presentations for standard and original illusions, visit http://www.illusionbooks.com or check out my illusion book ‘Illusionary Departures.’

All the best,


J C Sum
Singapore
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rtgreen
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JC,

Excellent thinking on the Doll House Illusion. Vernon once said that the problem with most magicians is they stop thinking too soon. It's always good to see someone come up with multiple presentation ideas for a single illusion.

Years ago, Mark and Greg Wilson did a fun presentation with a little boy making his dream girl come to life. Greg had a picture (imitating a Playboy Centerfold without the nudity of course) of a little girl. He put the picture into the doll house and when the doors opened, The girl from the picture emerged. They walked off hand-in-hand.

BTW: I checked out your site and you have some very good stuff there. What is the music you are using for the Visual Displacement video?

Thanks,
Richard
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