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John Heggie
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Pete,
Thanks for the link.

~John
WagsterMagic
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This is truly amazing. Very beautiful indeed!

Best
Brandon
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ChristopherM
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Very nicely choreographed. The music fits really well too.
MagicMarker
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Hmmm,

As beautiful as that looked I wouldn't consider it magic.

With magic there has to be at least some attempt to counter the theories that
the audience will dream up. You need to leave them with no logical explaination.
Any logical explaination even the wrong one destroys the magic in the mind of the viewer.

With this flying coach not only was there no attempt to disprove the theory that it was hanging from the ceiling, there wasn't even an attempt to disguise the fact that it was hanging from the ceiling, it was rocking side to side etc.

There is a difference between Theatre/Special Effects and Magic.

With Theatre and Special Effects the audience willingly suspends disbelief, they
know that the train is a cardboard 2D representation, they know that the horses are galloping on a threadmill, and they know that Peter Pan (or the coach) are hanging from the ceiling, but they suspend disbelief because the important thing is the story. They know they're watching fiction, so they let their imagination erase the wires or other hints of reality that get in the way.

Theatre happens on stage, but magic happens in the mind. The viewer has to be unable to explain what they are seeing. They have to be caught between knowing that it can't be real magic, but also knowing that there is no other explaination.

So yes, beautiful, but not magic (in my opinion).

For a direct comparison, Copperfield flying is magical because he systematically rules out the theories that people have about how it is being achieved.

An ambitous card routine where no attempt is made to dispell the theory that there are duplicate cards is theatre. A routine where every possible explaination is removed is magic.

That's not to say that the team behind this bit of theatre aren't great at magic. I just don't think this piece of theatre was approached from the perspective of creating a magical illusion.

-Rd
Kevin Ridgeway
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I'm not really sure Peter Marvey needed to disprove it hanging from the ceiling...LOL.

So the guy leading the horses, is he on a treadmill too? How about when the horses are not all walking on the same plane or path as each other? Why are we trying to convince the audience that the horses are actually walking, when it would be way easier to have them simply walk themselves?


Kevin

P.S. I really mean no disrespect, but you might want to watch it again. From your description of how you think it works...'IF' you were mistaken as to the method, would that then make it magic to you, based on your definition?
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brianmayo
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A bit of Magic Trivia for you. I heard when Copperfield vanished the Statue of Liberty he set it on top of 357 pairs of roller skates, and these are the same horses that pulled it out of the way when the curtain went up.
MagicMarker
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I didn't think the horses in this video were on threadmills, although I can see how that might have come accross. I was referring to a line from the Paul Curry book Magicians Magic where he describes how horses and trains were represented on the stages of theatres. Sorry for the confusion.

I stand by everything else I said in my post. This is theatre not magic.
I honestly can't see why a forum of magicians are even debating this topic.
It's beautiful theatre, and it's very nicely done. I would be amazed to find that the people who staged this considered it a magic illusion.

I used to think that the goal of magic was to get the audience to suspend disbelief for the duration of a magic show. I see now that that's not the case, and this video is a perfect example.

The goal of theatre is to get the audience to suspend disbelief. They know, but don't care that what they are seeing isn't real. The goal of magic is to create a paradox in the mind of the spectator. They know that it's not real, but they also believe fully that what they are seeing must be real because all logical exits have been closed.

Magic therefore is held to a higher standard than theatre. If you fall short of that standard you are not doing magic. You are juggling or dancing, at best.

In some cases like the flying coach (I believe) the creators recognise that what they are creating is theatre and it's fantastic. In some cases (like a few magic shows I've been to) the performer thinks he's performing magic, when in fact it's merely theatre, and it can be pretty embarrasing.

For the record the Link by Pete Biro is to a magical illusion because there is at least some attempt to disprove the theories in the minds of the spectators.

-Rd
Bill Nuvo
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Quote:
On 2007-05-08 08:53, MagicMarker wrote:
I didn't think the horses in this video were on threadmills, although I can see how that might have come accross. I was referring to a line from the Paul Curry book Magicians Magic where he describes how horses and trains were represented on the stages of theatres. Sorry for the confusion.

I stand by everything else I said in my post. This is theatre not magic.
I honestly can't see why a forum of magicians are even debating this topic.
It's beautiful theatre, and it's very nicely done. I would be amazed to find that the people who staged this considered it a magic illusion.

I used to think that the goal of magic was to get the audience to suspend disbelief for the duration of a magic show. I see now that that's not the case, and this video is a perfect example.

The goal of theatre is to get the audience to suspend disbelief. They know, but don't care that what they are seeing isn't real. The goal of magic is to create a paradox in the mind of the spectator. They know that it's not real, but they also believe fully that what they are seeing must be real because all logical exits have been closed.

Magic therefore is held to a higher standard than theatre. If you fall short of that standard you are not doing magic. You are juggling or dancing, at best.

In some cases like the flying coach (I believe) the creators recognise that what they are creating is theatre and it's fantastic. In some cases (like a few magic shows I've been to) the performer thinks he's performing magic, when in fact it's merely theatre, and it can be pretty embarrasing.

For the record the Link by Pete Biro is to a magical illusion because there is at least some attempt to disprove the theories in the minds of the spectators.

-Rd


You make a very good point supported by reasonable examples.

But at the same time you encounter a problem of people just doing tricks and no longer creating entertainment. This is why I think magic is not given the respect of an artform as compared to acting whereas they really are very close. There should be a nice mixture of what you call magic and theatre in every magic show.
MagicMarker
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You're absolutely right, and I shouldn't be so dogmatic, my description of magic is just an opinion, one that has changed fairly dramatically over the past few years as I've studied it more and more.

To answer your point about effects that are merely tricks:

For me, great magic, is everything that great theatre is, but with the ADDED requirement that there is no logical explaination left for the spectator to cling to. In other words, it is not sufficient to merely trick the audience, or merely entertain the audience, you must do both.

When you create something that engages the emotions in the way that great theatre does, while also challenging long held beliefs about what is possible, then you get what I think is great magic.

Take for example a youtube video of someone doing a wild card effect in their bedroom to camera. He may trick you, or confuse you, but you are unlikely to be very entertained. There's no emotional value to the things he's doing. There's no theatrical hook.

On another thread I read someone say that although they watched a Whit Haydn video alone, they applauded at the end. I've done the same. Pop Haydn is a great theatrical character. If he never did magic I could still sit and watch interact with an audience. You add effects that confound the audience and you've got great magic.

This is all based on my own personal taste of course. Another person might think that you must have comedy for something to be magical, another might think that you must have tension, the risk of failure or an element of danger. Others may think that magic must be original. We all have subjective ideas of what is and isn't magic.

-Rd
Bill Nuvo
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After some thought, something came to mind.

You are correct in that there is a difference in Theatrical Magic and Magical Theatre, with the main difference being in the goal of hiding the methods.

The problem though comes from disproving methods. This should be done in such a way that is entertaining and not so much as to make it a trick. A good example is David Copperfields Death Saw. He doesn't go out of his way to disprove everything. It makes for a great little storyline and he adds the little kicker with the "Move your feet!" shout from the audience which is actually a staff member yelling

http://youtube.com/watch?v=j9U3pZFPNcc

Here is Criss Angel's Mindfreak version which IMO reduces it to more of a trick and makes it less of an illusion (although his live theatrical version is really good)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=aC_oeEEWAwY
Justin Style
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Nice!
MagicMarker
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MrBill,

Thanks for your comments on this, you've really got me thinking. I started reading "Our Magic" after reading Whit Haydn's Chicago Surprise, and a lot of things are starting to click.

I like your phrases Theatrical Magic and Magical Theatre, very nicely put.
Also I agree with you that they way we hide secrets and disprove theories is important.

When I first started performing the ambitous card I was far more reactionary. Someone would propose a solution and I'd repeat it in a different way to prove them wrong. "You think there are duplicates, ok sign the card", "you think it's still on top, look it isn't", "you think it never goes in the middle, look I'll prove it to you".

It was a battle of wits that the spectator felt they were losing. In reality if an effect becomes a confrontational battle of wits the magician has already lost.

The problem of course was that all I knew about magic was moves. I did a move without motivation, the spectator inferred a motivation (to fool them) and fought back with an idea. The only weapon at my disposal was another move and the arms race continued. The longer it went on the stronger the feeling in the mind of the spectator that this was about fooling them, and I didn't have the knowledge or the skill to change that opinion.

Funnily enough Kids didn't react in the same way. Children know inherently that adults can do things that they can't. So they feel you are showing them something cool rather than trying to fool them. I think this goes back to Whit's idea that you need to make the audience feel you are giving them something (entertainment), rather than asking for something (approval and admiration).

So many ingredients, are we any nearer to knowing the essential elements of magic?

-Rd
Bill Nuvo
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MagicMarker.

I am glad to actually have an intelligent conversation with different viewpoints. Doesn't always happen here on the Café.

To answer you question:
Are we any nearer to knowing the essential elements of magic?

There will never be a complete answer as the variable of the individual perfermer will always be different and therefore such elements are reduced to opinions.
MagicMarker
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> There will never be a complete answer as the variable of the individual
> perfermer will always be different and therefore such elements are reduced to
> opinions.

I guess if you could define it and reproduce it we'd have a lot more really good magicians.

It might help while we're searching for the complete answer if we took more notes of the fragments of answers that we already have.

I enjoy going to magic clubs, watching lectures etc. It's entertaining, but I don't think it has advanced me as a magician as much as it should. It seems to me magic clubs are places for magicians to meet up before retiring to a restuarant or bar to get on with the good stuff, swapping ideas, trying out new material, etc.

I don't think I've even been to a magic club meeting where the question of what makes an effect magical was even discussed. I've been to lectures about how to get more business. I've been to lectures about how to fool people. I've been to lectures that explained subtleties in the presentation of tricks.

But I don't think I've ever heard a lecture in which a seasoned pro took a couple of simple effects and used them to illustrate some of the ingredients that make an effect magical. Surely there would be a market for such a lecture tour. Perhaps such tours are happening and I just haven't been lucky enough to cross paths with them.

-Rd
Bill Nuvo
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You should come to my lecture as that's exactly what I do.

One thing I show people is how I can make a 4 minute entertaining routine from a simple french drop. I show the trick and break it down. It's hard to write the idea down without the actual visual presentation.

I also tell the story of performing this trick in high school (15 years ago) and having one person constantly wanting me to show him this trick. He then got to asking me how it was done. One graduation day I gave in and wrote the secret in his yearbook. I first told him the method, but then told him to watch me do it to other people. He love the trick even more because he understood the value of the presentation and could focus on that. The trick was gone and only the magic was left.

Again...all this over a french drop whick I still use to this day to great advantage.

Without going into too much detail about the routine, I will say that the routine is actually fashioned the same way as DCs Death saw. It is set up as one thing but then the coin disappears and that is the most unexpected thing. Then there is some fun in finding the coin. The final production of the coin is not an amazing piece of magic and is really understood by most who see it, but the entertainment value it provides more than compensates for this as the huge round of applause I get from this (and this is what gets me my biggest round of applause over anything else).

Now I will you give you a hint if you like. I actually wrote some of the routine somewhere on the magiccafe at one point. So if you are up to chasing it down it's there for you.
Lord Anacho
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Quote:
On 2007-05-10 15:19, MagicMarker wrote:
<snip>
I think this goes back to Whit's idea that you need to make the audience feel you are giving them something (entertainment), rather than asking for something (approval and admiration).
<snip>


Wonderful. This forum is truly great.

Ciao for now

Erik
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
andrelimantara
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It's so cool

Very nice illusion to have....

Is a flying car illusion available somewhere?

Cheers
Andre
"Good performance comes from good practice, Great performance comes from the heart - Andre Limantara"
Donnie
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Those horses are so strong....
Hansel
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I saw this live,THREE TIMES!And every time is most beautiful!
Thanks,
Hansel!
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Clark
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I find the whole deal underwhelming. In magic/illusion we are invariably leaving questions behind after an effect, hopefully the 'right' questions.

Why the coach floating and not the horses? Why in the world would a coach float in the air behind a team of horses on the ground? It's absurd really.

This type thinking is why I can't get into stage levitations is general. The performer places a woman in a trance and causes her body to defy gravity....well almost....everything but her hair and the long dress she has on that hangs straight down, but the rest of her is certainty weightless. It would appear that hair and fabric are either immune to spells, or they are heavier is said situation than flesh and bone.

IMO we are ignoring too much for the sake of method in magic.
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
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