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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The April 2008 entrée: Rick Maue » » Pacing a show » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

phil in KC
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Hi, Rick! It's great to have you as the guest of honor, and to get so many of your thoughts on a variety of subjects!

I am especially interested in your thoughts on the theatrical aspects of performing. Your discussions about creating a character and building a relationship with the audience speak to issues I'm dealing with as I try to construct a show.

My question today is on another theatrical issue that I'm trying to come to grips with -- the pacing of a show. Just as a singer might sing a slow blues followed by an up-tempo swing blues followed by an all-out rocking number, I'd like to change up the pace of my show to make it more interesting for my audience. My problem is that I don't quite understand how to do this. It seems that every effect I work on plays at the same speed -- I'm in a rut of comfort, if you will. Is this an issue that you've worked on in your performances, and do you have any suggestions for me?

-Phil in KC
Rick Maue
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Greetings Phil,

Ah, KC…I had a great time when I was out that way just a few weeks ago, and I hope that I get to come back and work for you folks again in the future.

Pacing is a very interesting subject. In fact, the very first thing that your question brought to mind was the brief section from the Jamy Ian Swiss—Live in London DVD where he talks about openers, middles, and closers. Although he doesn’t go into depth, he asks the question--and that is really one of the main things that I look for from any type of lecturer. After all, I am pretty much set in my ways, so I don’t really look for someone to lead me to the answer, but instead to make me aware of a question that I may not have asked. And Jamy certainly did that during that section of his lecture.

But trying to focus more specifically on your topic of pacing, I look at it from several different directions. To begin, you can simply vary the length of the individual pieces. In other words, some may be short, some may be a bit longer, and a few may take quite a few minutes. This basic timing technique can certainly help to change the pacing, and it can give the structure of a performance a much different feel.

Next, the actual feeling of each piece can definitely change the pacing of a performance. In other words, some pieces may be conversational, while others can be a bit more narrative. Some may be rather light, while others may be much more serious. In short, try to bring each piece to life by giving each one a bit of its own personality. By doing so, you are showing different sides of your performance character, and also helping to avoid the problem of everything playing at the same speed.

In truth, I believe that the pacing of any show can be affected greatly by simply applying the few simple ideas from the last two paragraphs. In fact, much of what I have said here is what I have tried to do with my own material over the years. So, I hope that these few thoughts help.

Let me know if you would like me to go into any of this a little deeper.



Keep the change,
Rick
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phil in KC
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Rick, we'll welcome you back to KC any time, believe me.

Thanks for your thoughts on pacing. There are so many dimensions to a performance, and you touched on one that I hadn't thought about before -- conversational versus narrative. I'm definitely stuck in the conversational rut most of the time. It's good to get these fresh perspectives on what to think about.

One thought that occurred to me after writing to you about pacing is the possibility of adding a musical track to my show. Different rhythms would definitely impact the pace and feel of each effect. Have you ever used a soundtrack for your shows?

-Phil in KC
Rick Maue
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Phil,

I haven't used any music in my performances since about 1980--and when I did, it was for more conventional magic. As for the things that I do these days, music is just never a piece of my personal puzzle.

But with that said, everything belongs in art and/or performance, so if you see a possible place for music, by all means run with it. After all, that is what creativity is all about. In fact, if done properly, your soundtrack can actually become another character in your show.

I would be very interested in hearing what you come up with, and how everything pieces together. So please keep in touch as things progress--and most importantly, have fun, because that will always be the real reason that we do any of these things.


Keep the change,
Rick
Check out what is happening at Deceptions Unlimited





www.deceptionsunlimited.com
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