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Topic: For Ren Faire Magicians--Repeating Tricks
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Dec 13, 2018 04:56PM)
I am interested in hearing from Ren Faire Magicians and anyone else that encounter this.

For a longer Renaissance Faire, say lasting 5 weeks, you must put on anywhere from 20 (2 per day for 5 weekends) to 30 (3 per day for 5 weekends)shows. It would not be that hard to do two or three shows in one day, using 10-15 tricks (assuming the performances were different). The more days one has to do, the greater the number of tricks having to be repeated.

Now one of the rules for magicians is never repeat the same trick twice. How do you handle this, especially considering you have some people who will go to the fair multiple times?


Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Dec 13, 2018 08:45PM)
I repeat the tricks from week to week for the most part, but I am only doing one stage show a day. The rest of the time I am working the street or entertaining people who are waiting in lines for food from vendors - quite often with the three shell game.
Message: Posted by: Pizpor (Dec 16, 2018 10:18AM)
I've been doing pretty much the same act for about 15 years. 4 - 6 stage shows per day with the Minnesota faire being my longest run at seven weekends in Aug/Sept. I am also scheduled at one of their special events where the patrons pay extra for a show which includes booze and entertainment. For a 30 minute show I do maybe 3 tricks, the same 3 tricks, over and over again. Every once in a while I throw in something new just to ease my boredom with repeating stuff. The year I tried to not do my rope trick because I was so tired of it, people started booing.

Don't think of it as 'you're doing tricks.' Think of it as 'your show.' Have a fun and engaging show.

Yes - you will have repeat customers. I have a ton. They will get to know you and your show. If you do your effects well, they will enjoy watching the same material many times. Its all about how you present the effect and your interaction with the crowd.

Focus more on making an effect engaging and interesting, and less about trying to fool them. You'll figure out what works and what doesn't pretty quick. Just listen to the audience. Be willing to throw stuff out if its not connecting. Not everything works at a Renaissance Festival, but the stuff that does will work anywhere. Good luck, and Huzzah!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Dec 16, 2018 01:25PM)
Didnít want to respond because Iím not a Ren Faire performer. But then I remembered a story about Don Reno. (This is hearsay, so might not even be true, but illustrates something important to the topic.). Supposedly, he got so tired of playing Dueling Banjos that he would refuse to play it in his concerts. This lost him fans and was not the best thing for his career. Earl Scruggs, on the other hand, always grinned when playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown like it was his favorite thing to play. People loved him.

Can you imagine Steve Martin doing a standup act without saying ďIím a wild and crazy guy?Ē And his King Tut routine, of course. I have wondered whether he ever grew to hate those bits just from the repetition.

The old adage of not repeating a trick is meant to say donít do the same trick twice in the same performance. Not donít do the same material twice in one season.

If you have a signature piece you do, whether music or magic or comedy or juggling or any other performance art, people will expect to see it.

Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Dec 17, 2018 04:23PM)
Thanks to everyone who replied.

What you said helped me place the matter in proper context.

Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 31, 2018 07:41PM)
Iíve attended the Washington State aren Faire for past three years...mainly to see one of my favorite performers, Broon. I donít think his act has changed in the three years Iíve warched him, nor over the various shows Iíve attnded over the weekends I go. Yet each time I find myself, along with rest of audience, roaring with laughter. His routines may stay the same, but heís always adding storie, or improving, or getting into it with a volunteer or audience member.
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Jan 2, 2019 10:10AM)
Imgic wrote:

I donít think his act has changed in the three years Iíve warched him, nor over the various shows Iíve attnded over the weekends I go. Yet each time I find myself, along with rest of audience, roaring with laughter.

I reply:

So it seems to me that entertainment rather than variety is the most important factor.

Yeah, that is pretty much what people have been saying: master a handful of tricks, but more importantly develop ones act.

I know Dick Oslund could say it better.


Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 11, 2019 03:26PM)
Hi Henry!

It's been awhile since we've "talked". Thanks for your kind words!

I think you've said it very well! I might add: Learn the principles! (Read Tarbell!, Fitzke, et al!) It "aint the tricks, it's the PRESENTATION!!!
Message: Posted by: isaacfawlkes (Apr 23, 2019 04:50PM)
It is all about the "act" singers and comedians rarely change their acts. At a Renaissance fair I usually do 4 shows per day. Three are the same the fourth I bill as "The Other show" most patrons only watch your show one during a visit. so the old adage is true "Change Audiences, not tricks". In a previous post "Broon" was mentioned. We have worked together for many years and the only time there was a major change in his show was when he was injured. Most performers on the circuit are this way. Good luck. if they like you they will come back.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jun 3, 2019 05:38PM)
I've been doing the same Faire for nearly 40 years. 4 shows a day. Each show comprised of 3 to 4 routines. All of the shows are different and there are no repeat effects. I haven't changed any of the acts in many, many years.

Early on I thought I would have to change things up. But when I did the audiences complained that they had come to see a certain trick and were disappointed that I hadn't done it. So I decided to do the same routines and only change them when the audiences walked away when I started performing them. So far no one has.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jun 3, 2019 07:33PM)
Know what would be great? If Master Payne wrote a book on performing medieval magic. And maybe another on his take on ďbizarreĒ magic, too. Iíd buy them.