Posted: Apr 27, 2006 01:47PM
Mr. Ammar, Thank you. Everything that I've learned about the mechanics of the Cups & Balls I learned from you. I love the DVDs, I practice with them regularly (in case there's something I missed or forgot). Everything I know about presenting them, I learned from you, Stuart Palm, and my own unique perspective of the universe.
I love the Cups and Balls...the fact that they are so utterly simple and, yet, have this (disproportionate) power to astound.
Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about the cups & balls. These are just some questions that were left unanswered:
How long should a C&B routine be? How long is too long?
The final load...Is that truly the highlight of the performance? Does it have to be? Can it simply be a way to signify the end while maintaining an element of surprise? Because if it is the highlight, then people are just waiting to see what odd object appears. The performance itself is pointless...I might as well just show three balls, have them vanish, and then have three "bizarre" (for lack of a better term) objects appear in their place. And, that solves the problem of time because it is now cut down to a minute.
Is a narrative really necessary? Can one perform using pantomime, allowing their own actions/reactions and the balls' actions to speak for themselves?
If you do talk, can you tell a story instead of just describing the events taking place, then, have the final load relate to that tale?
Performing it to music...Too cliche? Too amateurish?
I could go on with all of the questions that I have. And, even if I wrote them all down, I'm certain that I'd come up with more.
I'm looking forward to and I'm very curious as to your opinions and input on this topic.
Sure, if you want to do it the easy way -Gonzo
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posted: Apr 27, 2006 11:58PM
Thank you for this thoughtful post AnneTGravity.
During the interim, until Michael has a chance to respond, I would like to mention that I have performed my Cups and Balls routine silently, incorporating pantomime (with no music), for almost 15 years --and I still love every second of this performance experience.
My entire routine usually lasts about 6-7 minutes, and in the mid-phase I "actually" hand out "invisible balls" to several spectators, which they grasp tightly in their fists then on my command, throw towards each of the cups (resulting in the re-materialization of the balls beneath their respective cup).
I usually produce only one final load (sometimes two). My final Load is a real lemon (incongruity for the final load, as Michael has suggested, seems to create the strongest impact). Often, as the second (really final) load, since comedy and pickpocketing is part of my persona, a spectator's wrist watch ends up beneath the cup.
My style of entertainment and silent routine is highly interactive and comedic and in addition to generating great audience response and reactions of pure amazement and wonder, this particular routine truly keeps me feeling young and "magical" as the years go by.
For myself (and my audiences) performing silently works like a charm.
There is a rhythmn and a magic "in the air" that can be felt by all, but not explained.
Yet I also realize that performing C & B silently would not suit everyone's style.
If you would like to see a short clip showing quick excerpts form my silent cups and balls routine, I invite you (and Michael, and others) to visit the Close-Up section of our site at:
Once on this page, click on the video clip link (C & B comes up near the tail end of the clip's sequence).
Like you, I look forward to Michael's pending and thoughtful input on the value and effectiveness of pantomime in relation to C & B.
Michael’s intensive books and DVD on the Cups and Balls have proven to be an incredible learning tool and his warmth, genuineness, and compassion for his audiences and the magic he performs has always remained a true inspiration (thank you Michael!).
<BR>Max & Maxine Entertainment
<BR>Magicians with a touch of comedy!
Posted: Apr 28, 2006 10:45PM
Hi Anne T,
I developed a C&B routine to introduce a talk I was doing for a local purchasing organization luncheon. I used the C&B's to demonstrate the problems with inventory vanishing, moving to different locations, unexpected increases in inventory, and with the final load, unexpected problems when the auditors come to verify inventory.
The patter would only work with that targetted audience, but the routine of moves was nothing new or unique, I learned all the sequencing from Michael's tapes. I think the routine I did ran 3-4 minutes and was just long enough to keep everyone interested in the rest of the lecture. Hope this helps.
<BR>Just an old dog trying to learn new tricks
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