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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Studying theater (for close-up) (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob Clayton
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In the words of Robert-Houdin, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician"
Patrick Differ
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Wanting to learn more about acting is cool and a great thing to do. There are many books available, as have been already mentioned, but if you were to ask me, I would say that the best book available for anyone is the one bought from the university or community college bookstore... the one that is the text book required for the class or classes often available at your nearest institution of higher learning.

By all means, read the textbooks. But...NO MATTER WHAT, take the classes and learn from people that have done and still do. The classes are educational, challenging, they earn college credits, and, in most cases, are just downright fun.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
Noel M
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I can't imagine what part of the performance of magic is not acting. The technical proficency of our props really isn't enough. If you want to consider that the 100% includes both technical skill and acting ability I'll concede the point. Good acting will boost average skill, but it don't think good techique will save bad acting.

Having seen a few of Mr. Hayden's performances, I would't hesitate to say that what makes his performances so entertaining is his acting ability. I'm thinking now of his linking ring routine with the spectator. How he turns, looks away at critical moments, uses languege and humor effectively etc. all means more to me that how he links and unlinks the rings.

I know I'm somewhat harsh on this subject because I think that the "acting" part of performing magic is overlooked by so many, and I'd like to see it emphasised mare than a new finger palm.

Think of all the great magicians. How many were bad actors?
Noel D
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Acting always helps in ANYTHING that requires you to present yourself.

Acting isn't simply saying a line properly, it's about learnign how to prpoerly emote, the certina beats of thigns, proper timing and structure of theatre pieces (and thus magic) being able to BS your way through anything (ever ahve to ad-lib a third of a play because the lead actor AND the understudy got sick? not easy.)and a lot of other stuff.

For close up, understanding improv is essential, and that's what I spend most of my time doing. Improv is making stuff up, but there's a bit more order to it than it seems. Knowing how to think on your feet is always helpful when you get back a smart comment or something goes wrong.

I began taking acting classes because someone told that if you ever have to do anything in front of anyone for any reason, you should be able to act.

And they were right.
Chessmann
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Combine working with your acting with

- videoing yourself and watching yourself and making adjustments. The videocamera does not lie.

- practice in front of friends who will be honest with you. Mix magi and non-magi, if possible.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2006-08-30 11:00, Bob Clayton wrote:
In the words of Robert-Houdin, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician"



That is taken way out of context.

The quote is on page 43 of the Routledge edition of Secrets of Conjuring and Magic in a chapter titled "Escamotage, Prestidigitation."

He explains the meanings of the two words, then he states:
Quote:
"A conjuror is not a juggler; he is an actor playing the part of a magician; an artist whose fingers have more need to move with deftness than with speed. I may even add that where sleight-of-hand is involved, the quiter the movement of the performer, the more readily will the spectators be deceived."


Now, regarding doing close-up on a stage, it all depends on how well you can sell the magic.

Leipzig performed small magic on stage. So did Emil Jarrow. He did that silly trick where you put a dime in a spectator's hand, and switch it for a penny. But he SOLD it!

That requires a very special entertainer.
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tommy
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Well I hope you come and see me in the movies
Then I know that you will plainly see
The biggest fool that ever hit the big time
And all I gotta do is act naturally. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-08-31 06:38, tommy wrote:
... And all I gotta do is act naturally. Smile


Naturally for the character
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Simon Bakker
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Thanks for al the replies!
An interesting thread is starting to develop.

Simon
Jonathan Townsend
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Is the issue worthy of discussion before more have done time as bit players finding meaning behind what they signify?

Bottom's up!

Yes those are references to Shakespeare.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JimMaloney
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Are we going to see a staging of Pyramus & Thisbe at the next convention?

-Jim
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Whit Haydn
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I'll ask Bottom. Jon says he is up. He can be such Jack Ass...
Lee Darrow
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Now THAT would be a Midsummer Night's Dream to watch, Whit! Let's hope the performance doesn't Bottom out!

However, on a more serious note (C#), acting in close up is essential. Ask anyone who does TV, movies, commercials or who does voiceover work. Certainly, he technique is not as broad as it is for the big stage, but it is still there.

And, for you Method types out there, the same thing still applies - you just work AS IF talking at the dinner table, as opposed to AS IF talking to someone half-a-block away.

;)

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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
magicalaurie
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Acting for camera. Film acting... you know. Smile
tommy
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Acting is essential to both close up and stage magic and going to drama school is advisable for both.
However: Close up and stage magic are not the same thing. Magic can, more or less, be divided in two by those two terms. The differences are due to the different working conditions and the different distances between spectators and the magician. The same principles of magic apply to all magic but you can not simply transfer a close act to theatre working conditions and expect no problems. The examples that have been given of guys doing close up magic in theatre conditions are exceptions to the rule.
The innovation of video transmitted to a screen in theatre conditions, so the audience gets a close up view, is what a lot of close up magicians are using and so on. It would be wise I think to take into account these differences and consider learning effects more suited to stage, if that is where your going to work. You know it seems common sense to me but what do I know.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
magicalaurie
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You looking for an answer to that question, tommy? Smile
tommy
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No Laurie, I am looking for the question. Smile

I see "what do I know?." Smile No I mean I don't profess to know much.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Bob Clayton
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Quote:
On 2006-08-29 09:58, tommy wrote:
Simon as I understand it wants to do magic on a stage "I only perform tablehopping but I want to make a move to more stand up and parlour type situations." but says "Studying theater (for close-up)". The study of drama and acting for close up is great but studying close up magic for stage presentation is an althogether differnt thing isn't it?

Tommy, I think you may have interpreted Simon's "I only perform tablehopping" too literally. I read Simon’s statement a little differently, to mean that all he is doing at present is tablehopping but that he wants to expand into doing other types of magic (i.e. stage magic). Not that he intends to study close up magic for the stage.
P.T. Murphy
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There is a school of thought here in Chicago that suggests that good acting is living truthfully from moment to moment under imaginery circumstances.

The imaginary circumstances are given to you by the playwright. Living truthfully, as honestly as possible base on the IMAGINERY circumstances you are working under, from one moment to the next. With know thought to the END product.

From "one moment to the next", seems to be the most Zen part of the excercise and where most of us get derailed.


How does the idea of "living truthfully (honestly, sincerely)from moment to moment" apply to magic? Does it?

I don't know...just asking.
P.T. Murphy
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-09-11 16:58, P.T. Murphy wrote:
... good acting is living truthfully ...


The notion of truth there is complex. What is true for the character comes from the script and the director and the actor. What is true for the actor at the moment onstage need have little to do with their personal history beyond the theater.

What is true for the character however may be true across every onstage instantiation by every actor before and perhaps every actor to come. Hamlet will brood and scheme and succumb to a poisoned blade. Such seems (part of) his truth, his fate and his destiny.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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