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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Escapes in one-man street shows (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

KerryJK
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Northampton UK
621 Posts

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A (possibly stupid) question for those busking escapologists amongst us (Chance, I'm looking at you!).

I'm developing another character for street and family shows, while I've busked as a juggler in the past I haven't included escapes (at least not in one-man shows) because I'm worried about passers-by making off with my stuff while I'm tied up. A paranoid concern?

Anyway, I want to know, has this question bothered anyone else and how does it affect your practical approach in situations where you're performing alone with a prop bag and a circle of rope?
Chance
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Inner circle
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Busking is a whole other world. So much so that there are entire forums dedicated to the art. Even this Café has one.

But as to this one very specific question, I have only had 2 occurances in 10 full performance seasons where my belongings were harmed: once in Australia by some young hoodlums who made off with my CD player; and here in Vienna by a local crate slug who made off with my money bag one afternoon. (Got the CD player back the next day, and the crate slug no longer works in Vienna.)

It's worth noting that neither theft happened during a show.

I don't know how your cabaret show is designed, but the street is the toughest of all venues. The lowliest street corner is tougher than any Las Vegas stage, IMHO -- and with all the millions of possible outside distractions your ability to control crowds must be second to none.

When you have achieved this last part somewhat reliably, you will find that your audience is fast on your side. This acts doubly to help insulate you from those that might want to harass or heckle: First, they might just like you enough to never start; and second, if they do try, maybe the person next to them will hush them for you.

Sorry for the long-winded answer, but it seems to boil down to this: The more confidence you have overall, the less trouble you will encounter from the public.

My question for you is, are you planning to do this show in drag as well?
KerryJK
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Northampton UK
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Thanks, Chance, appreciated! Smile

Quote:
My question for you is, are you planning to do this show in drag as well?


That's the purpose of the new character. Helen is a good gimmick for cabaret and while I can do her on the street for promotional purposes and festivals she's not really right for busking or family shows.
The new character is Rudi El Fire, a colourful masked performer inspired by the tradition of Mexican masked wrestling, or lucha libre (those who've read my posts in the past may be aware I'm a huge pro-wrestling fan). In the tradition of lucha libre a wrestler's mask is the source of his power and identity, so I wanted to apply that theme to street performance and circus stunts and escapes lend themselves brilliantly to the show I have planned, hence the question.

I'll post up a picture of Rudi once I've got his look finalised. I've been wanting another character to take to the places Helen can't go (especially as a few of the parents of the kids I teach have been asking me to do kids' shows for them) and I reckon this could fit the bill. I suppose there's also a possible parallel to be drawn between the luchadore's mask and clownpaint.

My crowd control isn't too bad - I've played some rough pubs as Helen, winning over less obvious crowds while dressed in drag is one the ways I'm building my reputation (word gets around). That said, people can be a bit sheeplike when trouble occurs and trusting even a sympathetic crowd to jump to your rescue in case of a trouble feels like a bit of a leap of faith.
Like you say, though, it's probably just a case of confidence; so long as I've some sort of a crowd, I guess for all any would-be brigand knows I could have a mob of accomplices planted ready to give chase if need be.
Harley Newman
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The people-management skills you learn on the street, also translate very nicely to stage.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Say Helen,

Did you know I used to be referee in prowrestling? Loads of fun.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Wolflock
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South Africa
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I agree with Chance here. I think it may be because there is too large a crowd watching that petty thieves will not touch your stuff, but you do have to beware of them picking pockets in the crowd while your show is on. Because all focus is on you, the spectators can become easy pickings. I normally do my busking at places like the V&A Waterfront which has security walking around. I have told management about things like this happening. They have sinces organised some security which watches over the spectators at areas where buskers perform to stop things like this happening.

Regards
Wolflock
Wolflock
Pro Magician & Escapologist
Member of JMC (Johannesburg Magic Circle)
South Africa
Arkadia
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Sweden, Sundsvall
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Helen: I agree totoaly with Chanse. And I have found out the same as he has - even though he's got a lot more shows behind him. Anyway. I have done SJ-escapes and mailbag-escapes with cuffs on the street and all of them have worked just fine. I was a bit worried by the mailbag because of the black-out period when you're in the bag. But it turned out just fine. It is all about getting the audience to like you, no wait, to love you. And I am shore you can do that!

/Ark
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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SW Ohio, USA
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Plus, it will depend on where you perform.
I do my busking in a 'safe' environment. Newport on the Levee is a market complex, like an open-air shopping mall. Incidents can and do still happen, but they are infrequent due to on-site security and the presence of several buskers. If you can find a site like that, it's ideal. Even in a 'safe' venue, though, watch what's yours.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
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