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Title: Scrolls: A Book of Storytelling Magical Threatre
Medium: Book, softbound
Arena: Magical presentation, bizarre magic
Available: Any shop, distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies

Tim “Santiago” Converse is a magician out of Boulder Creek California, a nice little town in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California. Tim is interested in many things involving dressing up like it is the middle ages, like many of the people in Boulder Creek, and his interest in magic lies in what is commonly referred to as ‘Bizarre Magick’. Bizarre Magick is different than other types of magic because of the addition of a ‘k’ and also because it is very much character and story driven. There are a few out there who think they are doing bizarre magick because they wear black and a pentagram and glare in a manner that would make David Blaine un-easy. Tim defines this magic properly in that it is story telling using magic that is done in a manner that brings about a certain feeling. It is not easy to do well and is extremely easy to do badly. I don’t draw a dark line between regular presentation of magic and the bizarre presentation, both should have a scripted presentation and tell a story and should be driven by the character.

Scrolls differs from another recent release by Leaping Lizard Publishing on magic theater in that while the other book was on stage presentation with a performing company and is something very, very, few will ever try to do this book is something that applies to the vast majority of magicians. Tim focuses on developing the character, I mean really developing it, so that you understand the motivation and what the character would or wouldn’t do or say. This is so important but ignored by too many out there and those that ignore it can be as skilled in the art of magic as possible they will never cross over and become successful performers until they create a character and work with it. This book does a very good job at explaining this idea and also the point that there may be a routine that you think is great, that you really want to perform, but if it doesn’t fit the character it isn’t put into the show. The story telling magician, I’ll use that term from now on, also uses props that fit the character. This makes sense and keeping in mind theatrical principles will elevate your overall performance and how it is received. I really enjoyed reading this book as it is relevant and well written. Tim does a very good job at communicating his message.

Scrolls contains a number of routines, many of them can be used as is or adjusted for you, of course you’ll adjust it for your situation. The real important aspect of the routines is seeing how they fit Tim and also they use some very powerful principles that are often ignored, for some reason by those outside the realm of the story telling magician. The routines are, with one exception, close up routines and are all worth looking into. Also included is an entire act based on the writing of Poe. The material is very interesting though and I think many will enjoy them. Unlike the other Lizard book on magical theater the routines are explained well enough for you to perform them. There is one routine that uses objects that are magnetic in an interesting manner. By coincidence I was cleaning out a shed the other day and a package fell face down, this was the day I read that routine, and when I flipped it over it was a package marked Rattle Snake Eggs, it was the items needed for the routine! Also in the book are a number of articles written by Tim for publication on journals on Bizarre Magick and are well thought out.

I enjoyed this book a great deal and found it both interesting and valuable. For those interested in bizarre magick and also just wanting to develop your character better this is a good place to look. Tim is a good writer and a better than average story teller. He doesn’t go overboard either, which is a problem with a lot of the bizarre guys, and not only takes in account character but also that you don’t want to alienate your audience. The book should be available at most good magic shops and if not they should be able to get it from Murphys Magical Supplies who it looks like is taking on distribution of the Leaping Lizard books. Very well done and deserves to be read.
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Anyone who wants to see a free preview, there is a PDF here And thanks for that nice review!
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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