(Close Window)
Topic: Seeking New Deceptive Asrah Getaways
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Oct 14, 2004 05:50PM)

This will sound lofty, but it is always good to consider "WHAT IF" in inventing the future.

I am looking for ways to once again make ASRAH amazing. I believe it can be again, but that it needs a fresh approach for the assistant getaway.

Always loved ASRAH but always hated ASRAH TABLES. To anyone past the late teens I wonder if it truly amazes at all.

Lets face it;
1. Audiences are somewhat wise to "people being comrpessed into a space"
2. The audience may not know the effect going in to the routine, (even something as classic as Asrah) but they are always looking for areas that seem thick enough to conceal a person. "Exposure specials" may have contributed, but certainly the average person is bright enough to understand this.

3. In the old days, ornate furniture was seen as art and a fancy bed/table could be justified. Today those are antiques. (With the strength of available materials these days there is no compelling reason for an Illusionist to use anything but a thin platform for such an effect, if that).

In short, I am looking for that perfect new fresh approach.

Certainly some tables are more visually deceptive than others, yet none I've seen are deceptive enough to be innocent.

Would like to hear thoughts from those who've tried alternate getaway ideas (into backdrops, wings, tables ect. Enough to amuse the sophisticated mind, but not enough to amaze again.

Perhaps we can invent the future of this wondrous effect on this forum;)
Message: Posted by: afun14u (Oct 15, 2004 10:05AM)
The coolist one I've ever seen was quite a few years ago at a six flags park of all places. The sceen was set up in an O.R. with the victom coming in on a stretcher. The Doc.-Magician covered her up and up she went. the orderlies went out with the evidence. Cool.

Robert Jones
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Oct 15, 2004 02:07PM)
Lol. Interesting, do you feel it was effective? How was the crowd reaction?
Message: Posted by: afun14u (Oct 19, 2004 02:56PM)
At the time I thought it was really cool. I did and still do think it was pretty convencing. The only part I didn't like but at the same time kind of did was the fact that the gimmic was attatched to the magicians hands. He had finger rings that were attatched to the form and lead to his hands so he was able to walk the floating girl down stage and around him. It was both very neat and at the same time kind of ... well I saw him put something on his hands before she floated up.

Your for the BEST in entertainment
Robert Jones
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Oct 19, 2004 11:02PM)
Hmmm... I have a "European" Ashrah gimmick though I have not yet used it. I understand what you are describing re the float though, Imagine he was using the same. Practical, not as impressive as a full rise to be sure. But at least the getaway was unique.

Would be nice to hear from others with other experiences/ideas. I hope we can keep this thread active.

Asrah definately needs to be re-invented for the 21st Century. What will the next generation of form & vanish be? Have some very specific thoughts and ideas. If anyone wishes to contact or email me to discuss this also please go ahead. Once I hit about 40 more posts I can be more specific in the insider forums.

Thanks for your thoughts again Robert.

Message: Posted by: Spider (Jun 6, 2005 09:25PM)
Sometimes you can look to the past for the future. U.F. Grant's BODIES IN ORBIT had a two-person asrah using two chairs and a board, a slotted-front box laid over the assistant, and an effective vanish at the end. Simple, but effective with a good presentation, solid lighting, and strong music.

Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jun 12, 2005 07:52PM)
I Love Grants' BODIES IN ORBIT, and I always liked that idea. Siegfried & Roy took advantage of it in their "Triple-Effect" sawing, Levitation & Asrah Vanish, letting the girl get away into the "sawing" a brilliant use. Certainly one of their very best ideas.

If the Cage-front box can be justified for the presentation, this is especially effective, but what is a strong justification? Wondering what auch a theme might be. Please if you read this, just brainstorm and toss up your ideas here. (This could be a lot of fun and very educational!)

Some thoughts on the "BlackStage" getaway: I enjoy OMAR PASCHAs act and had the pleasure of taking him, his lovely wife and son Louis around when they were in town. (Very nice people, a Russian family from france who took over the act from the original OMAR PASHA troupe and now control 2 OMAR PASCHA touring companies).

Just a personal opinion: I hope I am stating correctly (from memory) that even he admits that the audience is wise to the technique, but the ENTERTAINMENT value lies in the beauty and cleverness of the presentation. From that angle I am inclined to think that the cage-box table is Visually effective, but perhaps phsychologically not the strongest for the cleanest vanish.

Can the girl getaway into a "casually overlapping" prop under guise of cloth placement? Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!
Message: Posted by: leondo (Jun 13, 2005 12:02AM)
Thinking of Omar Pasha, it seem the simplest, cleanest way to get rid of the girl is that she never leaves the stage!

The girl could be laying on the thinest of boards. Her covering is three layered.
Triple velvet (ala DonDrake), Ashra form, bright colored top covering.

The form and covering are "floated" as usual. The bottom Triple Velvet covering stays on the assistant rendering totally invisible to the audience (ala Omar Pasha). Hide her in plain sight.

If you have the stage facilities for this, I think this minimalist would be hard to beat.

For what it's worth,

Ted (Leondo)
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jun 13, 2005 07:23AM)
True Leondo;

That would absolutely work visually for the performer with a fullstage blackart set up.

(I guess personally I am trying to find something that can be done in the widest variety of venues without the full stage covering and lighting control reqd for that technique).
Message: Posted by: Devious (Jun 22, 2005 10:24AM)
Here is the method that I used at a Casino for a Halloween Show.

A table with a height of 3'and 5'length covered in cloth, a form, a floor dolly directly underneath the table, two cords attached to each end of the dolly and a stage hand behind the backdrop ready to tug.

Assistant pretends to lie down on the cloth covered table and extends the form, she ducks underneath the table and comes to rest on top of the floor dolly. As the form is raised up by the performer, the dolly is gently pulled back behind the backdrop....the magician collapses the form and on the second beat whisks away the cloth on the table with the free hand.

The assistant "reappeared" behind the audience a few seconds later.

I had my reservations, but after going through in in rehearsals a few days before Halloween, we invited a few of the casino guests in to watch only this effect.....It worked from the reactions and we went for it in actual performance.....It was a hit!
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jun 22, 2005 07:13PM)
Now We're COOKING!!! Some very cool ideas! Lets keep this thread working, these are actually good new "Getaway" ideas for many Stage Vanish Illusions.

I really like the blatant switch on this one Devious, Why not? One of the major "Fumbling" points of the standard asrah has always been the unusual time and effort spent covering the girl, this often uses 2-3 people. Why? it should be an easy part of the effect. instead the stiffness of it slows the pacing and, if drawn out long enough, creates suspicion.

This idea takes care of THREE birds with one stone as 1. your cloth provides both getaway and 2. switch cover AND 3. the table can be framework-thin!! (Perhaps the performer even may stand up on it to affect the vanish at an elevated height!) The curtain-pullback is justifiable since you need an effective backdrop ANYWAY!

I am excited about this one Devious! Very, very excellent!! Anyone out there with other ideas, OR ideas for making the ASRAH even more practical for non-traditional stage methods?

GREAT Stuff! More! Bravo!
Message: Posted by: vj022 (Jun 29, 2005 10:34AM)
Here's an idea I thought of, might have seen something similar in a book:

Using costumed characters (at least one must be oversized, or use a costume that is slightly bigger than the assistant's size), they stay at opposite sides of a very thin board. The assistant lays on the board. When the cloth is lifted to cover her, she sneaks into the back of one of the costumes (the one where the costume is slightly bigger that the perform inside), and they walk offstage unnoticed.

Let me know what you think
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jul 4, 2005 06:54PM)

I think I remember the book where one of the couch holders was actually a hollow "Shell" body of a turkish man that the girl slipped into for the vanish. Possibly this was "MAGIC, SPECIAL EFECTS & TRICK PHOTOGRAPHY", one of my all-time favorites. It was a Sedan chair vanish orVanish of a girl in a tabouret I think.

Once again, another good idea. Thank you & lets keep this idea working!

* * *

Just a thought. Let's say the girl gets onto a thin board and is covered, but there is another object she actually uses (say an "apparently" empty crate) for the getaway that is casually pushed aside as the cloth is positioned...

Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 5, 2005 04:42PM)
IMHO I beleive that the ASRAH still impresses. I think you may be running when you're not being chased. However I will admit I have seen some bad tables too, but also some great ones. At any rate to contribute an idea, how about going back to the basics, such as a mirror table. It would appear thin, streamlined and impossible to hold anybody. Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jul 6, 2005 03:59AM)
Nice to meet another HAUNTED HOUSE designer Peter,I too design original Effects & Illusions.

Hmmmm... Running when not being chased, or simply making a standard effect to the next level? There is always room for improvement. When the thin-model sawing came out many swore there could be no improvement, until ZIGZAG, the CLEARLY IMPOSSIBLE.. the list goes on and on.

Yes, I agree, there are a few good tables, but most of the ones I've seen aren't convincing to modern audiences who are "wise" (IMHO) to the base concealment idea, or at least suspect it.

Isn't it a greater thrill to be completely amazed with nothing in our current frame of reference to fall back on? That is the experience I want for myself, so I want it for my audiences. (And I've heard lay people discuss the tables used in ASRAH on several occassions). No, Just shooting for the future, as the art must move forward, and it won't if people don't question and try.

What bothers me most is that I still see old fashioned "Beveled" bases designed to conceal by using the sightlines for the extreme angles of huge theaters used dead-on on television where they seem (no other way I can think of saying this) "Thick".

I still think the current version of ASRAH is strong, but not near the miracle-class it was for the masses when it was NEW. This can't be helped with the proliferation of printed matter on it, exposure TV specials and Magic Hobbyists (everyone seems to know one) with access to the standard method somewhere in the many books they own.

No disrespect to the many who perform this effect and do it well, but still its' up to those of us who invent to reinvent these effects for our own generation and keep them effective and fresh. I just cannot believe ASRAH is not improveable. It Can be made more practical, more visually amazing, more portable, more lightweight and less suceptible to critical lighting.

Remember also, this session is BRAINSTORMING. There is no such thing as a bad idea, and anything may spark something wondrous among a few (or several) participants. I am very excited about some of the ideas here. I appreciate your mention of the Mirror table. There may be a wonderful justification for using that technique.

As always, any other ideas?
Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 9, 2005 09:10PM)
I don't actually design Haunted houses. I just have an interest in Haunted house attractions. However I have been looking into designing and opening up my own commercial haunted house attaction in the next couple of years, but that's a whole other story.

But back to the topic...The new vertical ASRAHs are quite cool and very deceptive espicially those with the two level base.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jul 9, 2005 10:38PM)
If you want a Haunted House Design why not Contact Reedrc. he not only designs Illusions but has done Haunted Houses in the past.
Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 12:02AM)
Hi Don, thanks I'll keep Ryan in mind as a possible consultant, but I really want to design it myself. I have been studying them for years now, and would really like it to be a project that I create-thats all the fun!
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jul 10, 2005 07:15AM)
Seen a few ads and mentions on Vertical Asrahs but not that familiar with them, anyone here got links to info/ads or video? Would like to learn more about them. Would the two level base be like a Jarret/Zimmerman base?

Very interesting.

Re: Haunted Houses, from what I hear, the oldtimers consider Abb Dickson to be "Da Man". I played w spook efx since teen years and designed a few locally for charities/Jaycees. I it is a lot of fun and so many ways to go. A great excersize in applying magic techniques to attractions.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Jul 10, 2005 08:37AM)
There is a vertical asrah on magicauction.com for sale. The chair also vanishes.

Since we're also talking Haunted Houses now..check out my little project. This will be my 7th year doing it. http://www.hauntedmansion.ca When I first built it I could store it the rest of the year in my garage. Its grown a bit over the years and now takes 4 semi-trailers to store it. Each September it takes a team of 12 men a month to assemble it into the 20,000 sq ft attraction it has become. Last year we attracted over 16,000 visitors.

Its based on magic and illusion rather than blood and gore. ( much like the Disney Haunted Mansion )


Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 10:24AM)
Hi Tim, very cool. I think I saw a littly news bit about that last year on TV. I will have to come up and visit sometime for sure if you will have me. After much marketing research I was thinking of locating one in Wassaga Beach. One that is permenant but only open seasonally. Since you are so close, perhaps you could do some work for us as a consultant.

Thanks for the link!

Message: Posted by: The Drake (Jul 10, 2005 10:43AM)
Many thanks Peter,

If you are going to stop by let me know in advance so I can pick a time to give you a backstage tour of the effects and their workings.

I'd love to have discussion regards your project sometime. Be warned there are LOTS of pitfalls. Mine is a 10 day event so all my business happens then and I have lots of volunteers as its a fundraiser. It takes 20 to 30 backstage people to make it run and keep it safe. I also get lots of promotion and materials donated because of the charity issue. A project like yours that is open for a summer season will need to have more effects that don't require people ( paid people especially ) to run them. Over the years I've developed a few ways to make the effects less dependant on human power.

Insurance is also a BIG issue. The Shriners have a blanket policy that covers all their fundraising efforts nationwide and I am included in that so I have that angle covered..luckily.


Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 10:56AM)
Tim I would love to come up this year.

As for the human power, I was plannng on building an attraction that was 90% if not 100% automated, with peraps room for one-two live actors that could do several "jump" effects via back passage ways etc. For example take the UFO haunted house in Niagra falls. 2 guys run it. One guy does the ticket sales the other guy is the actor.

The attraction begins by this actor dressed up in a white lab coat standing with you in an alien autopsy room with the alien underglass. The actor begins to do the autopsy suddenly the lights go out there is a big crash and when the lights come back on the glass casing is shattered the alien is missing, and green smoke is emitting from the glass casket. The actor tells you run and directs you into the rest of the attraction while he sneaks into a little door.

From then on there are tons of great animatronics that will make you jump, but also through out
the attraction this guy is jumping out all over the place through little holes in the wall etc. It would seem that there was 10 live actors, but it wasn't it was just one guy following you through a parallel passage. I thought it was brilliant.

But I would like to have it so that at the attraction could be run successfully and entertaingly enough without any actors.

Message: Posted by: The Drake (Jul 10, 2005 11:08AM)
That sounds like the ideal way to run things. They do the same sort of 1 or 2 man thing in the Haunted House in Florida "Old Town" .

I think I'll check out the UFO attraction in Niagara Falls. Speaking of Niagara Falls ..check out the Greg Frewin thread in Grand Ilusion...we're planning a Café Day where Café members all attend one of Gregs shows. Its a chance to meet other members ( besides auditioning for Soap Commercials ) and see a great show. We'd love to have you particpate.


Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 12:25PM)
LOL! Haha, were you at that tide comercial too? did it air yet? I remember talking with Bill Abbott and Ryan Joyce there and we all had wished we never showed up...lol.

I can't wait to see Greg's Show. Did you know I actually competed against Greg in the finals of the Rising Star competition many many years ago at the CNE(I think I was like 13 or 14 years old), long before he ever made it big. Guess who won....yaeah, not me.:)
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Jul 10, 2005 12:51PM)
I don't think the commercial ever aired. Several other friends auditioned and they all agreed the people in charge didn't know what they wanted.

Yep..thats were we met. I was there with Ryan. You may remember me. You had your Losander Floating Table there and I mentioned I was interested in buying one and I asked you if I could feel the weight of it. I reached to pick it up and the instant my fingers touched the spindle ..the table started to float while I was hanging on to it and totally freaked me out. Seconds later I realized that it was only you lifting it from the top to hand it to me but for a bit there...I was really amazed! ...and then really embarressed!!!! LOL I did buy a Losander a few months later so thanks for recommending it. I love mine!

If you're available on the 5th we'd love to have you there. PM or email me if you can make it. BTW...cool story about the competition.


Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 04:29PM)
Oh well ofcoarse I remember you. I guess I never put 2 and 2 together. Glad you are enjoying your Table.

I would love to come, I will let you know in the next couple of days if it is feasable for sure. More than likely I would go up for the whole day and spend some time in Clifton Hills with Lyndsy and then meet up with you guys at 6:00 or earlier. Its just that it is a 2-2 1/2 hour drive, so I would make a day of it. Or if anyone else is going up early perhaps we can all hang out for the day or part of it anyway before the show, as I wouldn't have a lot of time after the show to stick around.

Im not sure if the story about the competition is really that cool...lol, he smoked me and others with his bird act...:)and back then when it happened I felt devastated, but now over the years, that I see what he has become, and what he has done with magic, I don't feel bad at all, but rather honored! I really want to attend so please pass on the details.

Message: Posted by: The Drake (Jul 10, 2005 04:56PM)
Hi Peter,

I don't mean to highjack this thread so I'm going to post a new one soon so don't hear from other members that I complained to when they got of topic. Eh..Kline? LOL

My thought was to get a bunch of us together on AUG 5 but then changed it to AUG 12 as Abbotts is on the 5th. The plan is for the group to get together at 6:00 at the theatre. It'd be great to get as many as possible together so we can really cheer Greg on and then help get the word out. Ryan Joyce, Chris Stolz, The Amazing Corbin and myself are all on board so far but I'd like so many more. You'd make a great addition. Spouses and family are more than welcome..the more the merrier. If you know any others in NY or ON pass the details on. Info will be posted here http://www.timothydrake.ca/cafeday.html


Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 10, 2005 09:36PM)
Im all over it like Oprah on a baked ham!

Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jul 11, 2005 03:52AM)
Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Jul 11, 2005 09:08AM)
So Mike Im curious about your thoughts on the vertical asrah. Have you had time to investigate?
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jul 11, 2005 04:24PM)
A little. Took a look at what Tim mentioned (its at almost the last page of FOREIGN(?) Illusions. The way this one is set up it really looks like it could almost be self-contained with NO lines or traditional flying rigging.

Performers body blocks an armature from the device, or even (so much detail work would need to be worked out) a ZOMBI style extension rig where his body and draped cloth overlap.

You guys sound like you are going great guns over there. I run a much smaller operation. Hope I can keep up with what you are doing, interesting conversation. I love that kind of stuff.