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ClodAppleleft
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Manchester, NH
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I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this, but I couldn't find a better one.

Background: I've been working small Renaissance Faire's for the past 3 years doing mostly street work (coin slights, appearing and disappearing silks, some rope, sponge balls, etc.) I've recently moved my street work to the stage, and I want to put together some more stage esque illusions. I was wondering what suggestions some of you might have for that type of environment (stage shows at Ren Faires)

I've been thinking about the Sword thru the Neck routine for a closer, but the only one that I have found that doesn't look like a kids toy is Daunte's sword through the neck, and I don't have $1000+ to spend.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
There are many different ways to cut an apple.
Payne
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Seattle
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I have been doing Sword Through Neck as the closer for my Ren Show for over twenty years and have always used the "Toy Version".
Since it is my signature piece, I could more than justify shelling out the fourteen hundred dollars for the "Professional" version but will never do so for several reasons.

1. I hate the stocks on the Dante version. There are no handles for your assistant to hang on to. With nothing to keep her hands occupied, I think she would be more likely to try and grab the blade.

2. Do you really need to prove the sword is real? Those who think it somehow collapses or bends are going to still think that no matter how many carrots you dice up before hand.

3. It's too pretty and way too expensive to drag around in the rain and dirt of your typical fair. I'm hard on my props from time to time and I need something that I can beat up and not feel guilty about.

4. If the sword breaks I can go to the nearest hardware store and get a replacement.

5. My presentation in no way would be improved with a fancier sword.

My advice is to start out with the Abbott's version, create your routine, see how it plays and if it plays well and you feel it would be improved with a fancy prop go ahead and buy it. It is a thing of beauty and very well made
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Jeff Dial
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Kent, WA
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Having seen Payne perform I knew you hit his hot button when you said sword through neck.

He is not kidding when he says his Abbott's Sword thru Neck is his signature piece. You can really build it up and make it your closer. Spend the time to really think it through and write it up.

(We need a smiley face with an arrow through the head) Smile
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
Payne
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Seattle
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If you want a nicer Sword thru Neck, Wolf's Magic constructs one. You can see it, and contact the owner from his website http://wolfsmagic.com
I will be having him build me a custom one next year.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
ClodAppleleft
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Manchester, NH
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Thanks for the input guys. Where would you suggest getting the Abbott's Sword thru the Neck?
There are many different ways to cut an apple.
Jeff Dial
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I'll let Payne answer that one.
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
isaacfawlkes
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FL
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You can adapt almost any effect that you would use in a modern stage act. Tricks I have used at Renn Faires include: Linking rings, 20th century silks, Chinese sticks, egg bag, miser's dream, 3 card monte, cup and balls, professor's nightmare, and about a hundred other things. A piece of advice I would give is remember to use the audience. At a renn fair audience participation is not only advised but IMHO is it mandatory.

Remember that not everything has to be "period". In reality in that age you would have been a criminal in most places, so entertaining the audience is what it's all about, don't get to caught up in the "No Anachronisms" school of thought.

Good luck
MOTO42
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Whitehouse Texas
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Only the "Period Police" will complain about a few anachronisms in a otherwise entertaining act, and these poor souls seem to be few and far between these days.
"One man's miracle is another man's warm-up"
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Nothing would fit the period like a real egg. Do Silk to Egg and you can even use a leather strip if you like for the silk. (Bootlace)

Bob Sanders
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JordanB
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dallas, tx
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I will admit that I don't know a lot about Ren Faire work.....but...

That being said the Café's own Bill Palmer has an excellent set of notes about working at these types of festivals. I got a lot of useful information from the notes and Bill is an expert. I also bought a set of notes by MaroM the Mountebank (Ralph Marcom) who also is an expert. Both have my highest recommendation and both were reasonably priced iirc.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2002-12-23 21:28, ClodAppleleft wrote:
Thanks for the input guys. Where would you suggest getting the Abbott's Sword thru the Neck?


Have you tried Abbott's?
"The Swatter"

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Bill Palmer
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Regarding how "in period" things need to be:

Faires differ in their requirements. For example, the Sterling Faire has a reputation of being sticklers. OTOH, at some other Faires, you can get away with just about anything short of a vanishing cane, an appearing cane or other OBVIOUSLY modern pieces. I also would not recommend doing a milk pitcher, because the depot items are too familiar to the gilpins.

For the 17 or so years that MarcoM worked Scarborough Faire, he NEVER did an item that was out of period in any way.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Todd Robbins
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Is anyone doing pickpocketing at Ren Faires? And I mean onstage at Ren Faires? Not just a watch steal but a full act or real hunk of work? I would think this would KILL at a Ren faire.
gaddy
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Quote:
On 2009-01-27 22:46, Todd Robbins wrote:
Is anyone doing pickpocketing at Ren Faires? And I mean onstage at Ren Faires? Not just a watch steal but a full act or real hunk of work? I would think this would KILL at a Ren faire.


awesome idea, especially given how most of the mundanes dress...
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
DanielGreenWolf
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Waterbury, CT
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Wow! This thread was dead so long that they created a whole new section on the Café to talk about it. Smile

I personally haven't seen a pickpocket act at a Ren Faire, but it does seem to fit right in. I wish I had the skills to jump on that.

As for period items, sticking with silk (they had it then), cloth, rope, metal, leather, wood, the elements, even playing cards if you can find period-looking cards work quite nicely.

And, although regular black and white tipped appearing canes don't work, the silver metal appearing canes look really good and no one questions them, even the sticklers (And I've done SCA events...they can be the worst of the worst).
-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
Celtic Magician

www.GreenWolfMagic.com
scaress
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salt lake city
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We have two magicians at my ren fair. the one and the small tricks (rope, coins, etc) seem to go much better then the big ones (zig-zag girl, sword basket, etc.)

if I was you I'd modify your street act for the stage.

I did sword through the neck at a ren fair once. be sure that if the kid screams that his parents are already there watching from the begining. trust me on that one.
Bill Palmer
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I don't see any way that the Zig-Zag could be justified at a Renfaire, even the most lax ones. If I were doing the auditions at a Renfaire, and I did a lot of them, I would not permit an act to use ANY of the appearing canes that are on the market today, even the all silver ones. they just look way out of place. What are you going to call it? A gigantic wand?

The sword basket, though is perfect for this venue. The props are period and it can be done just a few feet from the audience. I used a sword basket for 20 years, and it became one of the best pieces in the show.

The problem with most of the guys who do stage work at RenFaires is that they don't know how to play to the back rows. My normal crowds were 1200 people -- 800 - 1000 seated, the rest standing.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lion Dope
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York PA
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I know a variety act performer who uses a metal appearing wand- In his story line, he refers to it as a "scepter". In that context, it's visually and thematically appropriate, in my opinion...
- Mike
Bill Palmer
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I could see that, if the audience has never seen a real scepter. But a metal cane -- nope. Too long for a scepter, too short for a spear or a staff.

BTW, this thread is really in the wrong section of the forum. It belongs in Periods and Styles of Magic. I would suggest that anyone who is interested in performing at Renaissance Festivals look in that section.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
theadequate
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Over there
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I do my best to do stuff that, if it isn't 100% historically accurate, is at least "period neutral" - thankfully there are hundreds if not thousands of things you can do on stage with rope, chain, swords, staffs, coins, cloth bag hats, the occasional piece of fruit and so forth.

... and yes, I remember MarcoM... heck, Mr. Palmer, I remember *your* show... especially the watch shoot. "Now I can tell by the tears running down your leg..."
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