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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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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-09-12 17:46, Clark wrote:
...
With all due respect JT, this isn't SUNY... what these guys see as best for them is hardly "constraining" themselves...


Correct, they have a very well respected performing arts program and graduate talented actors, film makers etc. And no actor wants only to play themselves. Though exploring other roles often leads to self discovery as a side benefit.

On the other hand, many magicians seem to have trouble telling a joke and acting as if they believe what they pretend to be doing.

How do you know who you are to the audience? And what is your relationship to the magic you use? Where does it come from? What does it do for you and what do you watch for? What prevents you from picking the winning lotto numbers or finding someone's lost property?
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Clark
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I agree they are very well respected, I have much respect for them myself. The fact that no actor wants to play themselves has nothing to do with me as a magician. People as magicians often want to play themselves, I still fail to see the problem. I do see how the discovery that you speak of could be a fortunate byproduct, but that in an of itself doesn't make it a requisite for being a magician.

I agree many beginning performers do struggle with what you speak of, does that mean they should all practice being someone else? I say "beginning performers" because if they are not comfortable with they are doing then they can't really be classified as "magicians" quite yet. You cannot hold them any more or less responsible then you would the acting students that you and I have so much respect for. It takes time to perfect the craft, to bring it all together if you will.

I know who I am to my audience in the same way that I know who I am to my friends. My every action as a magician to my audience is based around who I am and my specific knowledge base and personality. I know they know me, because that is who I am while I am with them. I have personal conversations with repeat customers due to the fact that they feel they know me, once again, due to the fact that I am little , if any, different than when I am performing. Maybe a little less intense, but the same otherwise. I don't have people expect me to be funny or "on" every time I see them on the street as they know I am a real person who does magic, not a character that they cannot separate me from when the show is over.
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
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Whit Haydn
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That is acting.

People tend to confuse an actor's "range" with his art.

Putting on wigs and makeup, adopting various ticks and mannerisms, changing a voice or accent--these are all skills that actors accumulate in order to increase their "range." They want to be able to play a king, a businessman, a Nazi general, a pirate, or a baseball player. But these skills have little to do with the main task of the actor--acting.

There are many actors with very little range, but wonderful emotional intensity and clarity--with great "naturalness" and believability. Edward G. Robinson, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart and others of the same stripe were almost always "themselves" in their voice, appearance, and accent, but always believably living through the events of the story.

Not every actor is expected to be a Lawrence Olivier--a chameleon who can play any character or accent of any social class.

You are acting every time you perform the same lines, present the same effect, adopt the role of someone with magic powers. It might be you, with your voice mannerisms and appearance, but with a history of magic. You have to be convincingly a magician, or there will be no conviction of magic. To do that, you need to be an actor. You don't need to be able to be someone else, you have to be able to be you with magic powers. That is the acting that we are talking about.

I have always had a Southern accent. I used a trained actor's voice for most of my career--more than thirty years. I played a character on stage that was close to my own voice and mannerisms when using my general American accent.

When I started out doing a new character based on my real accent, many magicians complimented me on my "acting." It was really more of a stretch for me before when people assumed I was being "myself."

But the accent, mannerisms and attitudes of the character are the least important elements of acting. Naturalness, being in the moment, point of focus, and emotional clarity are much more important.

Many performers are acting without knowing it. Studying acting helps you to understand and improve what you are already--of necessity--doing.
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-09-12 20:45, Whit Haydn wrote:

Many performers are acting without knowing it.


Indeed.
tommy
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Whats the difference between a showman and an actor? Many of the great magicians were said to showmen. I watched a thing today about Houdini and it seemed to me he was a bad actor.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Clark
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Point well taken Whit, I see exactly where you are coming from. Your insight has been most helpful to me as usual. Very well stated, thanks for the input.
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
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P.T. Murphy
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Yes! The Whitmeister pulls through! I couldn't agree more.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Do you know what makes you you?

Would you still be you if you had one more sibling? Or one less? Or were adopted? What about adopted by fairies?

Till you know the limits of what makes you who you are, what good is a wand or a bag of woofle dust?

What would you have done with those things if you had them ten years ago? And where would that have gotten you? And if you did, who would you be today?

Do you really still want to act as yourself in magic?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
magicalaurie
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Smile Outta my way! I want the adopted by fairies option!
Clark
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Trust me Jt, I am pretty aware of what makes me, me. Up to this point anyway... Smile

Without going through your questions systematically I will just say, yes, I still want to act as myself in magic. The point of my magic, to me, is to reach people and have more of the life experience that the interaction of magic brings. "Me" is a living, breathing, ever expanding "character" that I enjoy being. I want people to walk away from my performance knowing as much of ME as possible, not someone that I have made up for them to look at.
There is nothing wrong with having a character, having a message, or whatever your performance is to you. That is the great thing about the performance in an of itself, there is no right or wrong. It's what it is what it is to all of us.
Personally, I know that I am only going to get to meet so many people and touch so many lives in my lifetime. A thought which saddens me in a way. So I choose for the ones I do meet to find the real me there, or as much of the real me that I can get across. My magic is that vehicle for me.

**** with all that, I'm with Laurie, I'll take the fairies. Smile

Clark
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
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Jonathan Townsend
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Does our social ecology embrace magic?

What is one of the first things done upon entry to this craft?

Does vanity require narcissism?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
magicalaurie
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"The art of living a part asserts that the main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation...What we hold in highest regard are impressions made on our emotions, which leave a lifelong mark and transform actions into real, living beings...Aside from the fact that it opens up avenues for inspiration, living a part helps the artist to carry out one of his main objectives. His job is not to present merely the external life of his character. He must fit his own human qualities to the life of the other person, and pour into it all of his own soul...An artist takes the best that is in him and carries it over on the stage. The form will vary according to the necessities of the play, but the human emotions of the artist will remain alive, and they cannot be replaced by anything else." a Stanislavski quote. The Actor's Checklist. Rosary O'Neill
tommy
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I think the most important thing is to relax and chill out. Most guys act fine until you point a camera at then. They can‘t act then because they get tense.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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The play begins and ends on time.
The character does what they do.

But you have a life to live.
And so must seperate who you are from your art.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
P.T. Murphy
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Beware of authourity figures with no credentials!
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tommy
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Yes they might be just actors. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Clark
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Great point concerning relaxation Tommy.

Most people here would do well to read Murphy's last post several times in a row...
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
Albert Einstein
P.T. Murphy
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Hi Simon-

It seems we hijacked your post! I apologize.

Might I suggest Eugene Burgers "Mastering the Art of Magic"? This is a great compilation of Eugene's early works. He offers tons of very practical advice for magicians. As Eugene's main gig at the time was working restaurants and private parties, his advice is particularly helpful regarding those areas. He concetrates on how to create a more theatrical setting for your magic in what might be considered less than theatrical environments.

Also if you are serious about acting and theater I would suggest a beginning acting class. Any class will do. Just jump in. There is WAY TOO much talk on this thread about ACTING. And reading about acting is pointless.

It is called ACTING not THINKING...so it requires you to DO IT!

Remember to have FUN!
P.T. Murphy
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-09-13 10:16, P.T. Murphy wrote:

...Also if you are serious about acting and theater I would suggest a beginning acting class. Any class will do. Just jump in. There is WAY TOO much talk on this thread about ACTING. And reading about acting is pointless.

It is called ACTING not THINKING...so it requires you to DO IT!

Remember to have FUN!


On this we agree. Go for it! And let us know what you find out from doing.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-09-13 09:17, tommy wrote:
I think the most important thing is to relax and chill out. Most guys act fine until you point a camera at then. They can‘t act then because they get tense.

Relaxation and control are fundamentals. On mark, tommy. Smile


Posted: Sep 13, 2006 6:28pm
------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-09-13 10:04, tommy wrote:
Yes they might be just actors. Smile

Or not. Smile


Posted: Sep 13, 2006 6:34pm
------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-09-13 09:22, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
But you have a life to live.
And so must seperate who you are from your art.

:no:

Above all...
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