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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Boxes, tubes & bags » » Ideal table height? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

karnak
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Colorado
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I seem to recall reading somewhere (quite possibly here in the Café) that the optimal table height for performing parlor magic -- meaning, among other things, the best table height for doing "standup" performances of effects such as the cups and balls, for instance -- is whatever height a tabletop needs to be such that you (the performer) can place your palms flat upon its surface with your arms fully extended (no bent elbows), but without having to lean or stoop or bend down at all, either.

Would most standup performers still agree with this, as a general rule of thumb? Or would you suggest a tabletop elevation perhaps a bit higher or lower than that?

Does optimal height differ from one effect to the next? Would a good tabletop height for standup cups and balls perhaps differ from the best tabletop height for a Zombie routine, for instance?
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JNeal
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There are too many variables to make a hard and fast answer.

Generally for stage 30" is about standard with an adjustment (+2" or -2") based on your height and arm length. I seem to recall seeing something in Tony Marks' book about the right height being about where your knuckles are when you hand is closed at your side whilst standing... but that may have been influenced by the need to make a steal from a table. in any case, he was a stage and club performer and in those instances... the viewing angle of the audience might be a consideration.

Honestly, doing an effect on a table top (such as cups and balls), I would make the table as high as you can manage comfortably. A higher table will almost guarantee a better chance of the majority of the audience being able to appreciate the effect. Parlour floors are seldom 'raked', so it means that everyone is at the same level and peering around other people's heads while seated can be a test of patience and interest.

As for most stage effects, getting them off a table is a good idea. a Zombie routine might only incorporate a table at the beginning and end... assuming the ball comes to life from a tabled stand. It is also a good idea to limit your time spent standing behind a table as much as possible. Theatrically, it's just not very interesting. A good entertainer tries to avoid having anything come between he and his (or her) audience... and unless absolutely necessary, why should a a table be an exception?
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jay leslie
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Southern California
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Yes if all your equipment is like hippy hops then your table is slightly shorter. If your props are silks the table can be higher.
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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One of the biggest hurtles my Wiz Kids beginners have to deal with is NOT STANDING BEHIND a table, as JNeal mentions. For some reason it makes them feel safer. Obviously, there are some effects like cups and balls which requires that position, especially if you are sitting at the table, but assume you are performing standing up on a stage, the correct place for you is beside your table, or in front of it. Don't let the table become a shield or a "star" in your show. As for the height - hey, the tables we use are easily adjustable - find out what height works for you and don't make your table the exact same height as someone else just because that's what he or she likes.
Jim Gerrish

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zaf
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I think it depends on how tall a magician is Smile
chmara
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Tucson, AZ
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It depends mainly on whether it is a demonstration table, a side table just holding something to come front and center, a dump table, a multiple use table =--- AND -- how and where the audience is seated..

General use tabes as quoted above are great for many living rooms, back yards and stages -- BUT -- weddings, bar mitzvahs quincenarias, large company dinners without a stage but with a dance floor will present problems. For these I created and used higher than normal tables (5 wheel rolling bases) without draping letting the audience see under the table to below the props like square circle, death trap, 48 bloom boutania, etc. And working from a dance floor, the audience members seated at tables three and more rows behind the front tables could still see the action and pros over the front row's heads.

And yes, sometimes it was a nuisance carrying extra tables until you get stuck in a flat floor venue where anyone behind the first row will be blinded by the heads people in front of them weaving and bbbing trying to get a glimse of what is going on.

The first comment I got on the use of this higher topped table was from a pro at a wedding I was doing in California -- who could, from mid-house dinner table, see my whoole Big Shot Routine and could not catch ther special moves with the canon. And with Death Trap the blades are clear to see all the way back -- and when covered with bags to be crushed remain visible to the whoole audience. A low table does not permit this to have the effect on a flat floor.

Some may disagree -- but this worked for me.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



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