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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Are Magicians Actors? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-03-07 15:09, JackScratch wrote:
It means he never stops acting. He has formulated a persona that he wears daay in and day out. He's still doing the same thing, he just likes the costume so much he wears it around the house.


Not to mention the sheer horror of wearing one's holdout to bed.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
kregg
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27/7!!! (McBridism?) Now we've reached transcendental ineptitude or we're just over-acting badly.
POOF!
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-03-07 16:25, kregg wrote:
27/7!!! (McBridism?) Now we've reached transcendental ineptitude or we're just over-acting badly.


Wonderful prose! Probably written without irony as well. Bravo!

"overacting badly", "transcendental ineptitude", wonderful!
...to all the coins I've dropped here
pkg
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Isn't presentation a form of acting?

don't you have to "act" in a way when you are doing a routine?

let's take a small example..."outsmokin" by ron jaxon...dont you have to look frustrated when performing it? when you are doing a routine that you've done for over a dozen of times to people, don't you have to act in a way or another to keep the same enthusiasm when you first performed it?

If you are a mentalist...dont you have to "act" and do your best (without looking like an idiot) to try and "catch" that certain thought...or concentrate to bend that spoon...

HELL! when you meet someone for the first time, do you open up completely to that person from the very first day? (and that my friends is a fact, unless someone is drunk and whining to a complete stranger...that's a different story/anomaly)
Double posters should be shot!

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landmark
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There's an extensive literature concerning how one might make "Lies like Truth" in an entertainment/artistic context. Theatre people have written down their thoughts on this for centuries. You can be sure Derren Brown has read his Stanislavski--it's all through his books and performances. There's no need to reinvent the wheel.


Jack Shalom
Slim Price
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Something I mention ocasionally when I'm in contact with those who write me, "if you are still in school take the opportunity to study theater." It's free, and I can't think of anything that will serve you more through life...Just learning to lie well will be a bonus! <G>
Slim
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Bill Palmer
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Some magicians are actors. Some magicians are shoe salesmen. Some are stockbrokers. Some are clerks at MacDonald's.

If their audiences are fortunate, they may get to see one of the ones that knows how to act like a magician.
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Derek Rutt Creations
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Of course a magician is an actor...or should be sadly some are not ....but it is vital that you be a good actor in any of the performing arts...it is you who gives the performance feeling and that something extra not what you are using.
Derek
Hope this helps. Creation is life
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The Great Dave
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All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,


William Shakespeare
As You Like It 2.7.

Best Wishes,
Dave
Academy of Magical Arts

Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat! Whoops, wrong hat ...
Bill Palmer
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Dave:

Great post!!!! Check Payne's post on the second page of the thread. He kind of beat you to it.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Jonathan Townsend
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Some things are worth repeating.

And some well worth reading.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Al Angello
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I am definitely an actor, but I can only do one character, which is an exadurated, over the top, big mouth carictaure of myself. I don't know if that can be classified as acting, but I can do a real good me.
HAVE FUN
Al Angello
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JackScratch
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It's clasified as performing, if you are worried about clasification. Like I said, magicians are not actors, but they have a lot in common. Truely with magic, the performance is the most important thing, and when I say that the effect is the least important thing, I certainly don't mean that the effect can be done poorly. I mean that you don't have to do the biggest best most mind blowing effect, or even the hardest to execute. I'm saying that for all the time, effort, and money magicians spend on effects, their dedication to performance is largely neglected. When in fact, the easiest, oldest, and least mind blowing effect can be entertaining with a gret performance, but the reverse is not true.
Whit Haydn
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Drew:

And where, do you suppose, would someone go to learn the techniques of "great performance" that you are in favor of if not to acting and theatre study?

Where else do you learn how to communicate effectively and entertainingly?

Magicians are actors in a specialized branch of the theater. We share many of the same skill sets as actors in the other many branches of theatre.

The reason that many people do not accept that magicians are actors is because they do not understand the work of the actor.
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-03-08 15:52, Whit Haydn wrote:
The reason that many people do not accept that magicians are actors is because they do not understand the work of the actor.

I was just gonna say this, Whit. Thank you. Smile
Jaz
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What type of acting are we talking about?

Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood who always seem to be pretty much same or actors like Billy Bob Thornton and Edward Norton who can be almost chameleon like in their roles.

We're all actors to some degree.
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-03-08 15:52, Whit Haydn wrote:
Drew:

And where, do you suppose, would someone go to learn the techniques of "great performance" that you are in favor of if not to acting and theatre study?

Where else do you learn how to communicate effectively and entertainingly?

Magicians are actors in a specialized branch of the theater. We share many of the same skill sets as actors in the other many branches of theatre.

The reason that many people do not accept that magicians are actors is because they do not understand the work of the actor.


Funny you should ask. I'm writing a book on that very subject. Know any good publishers?

For stage performances, yeah, I think acting classes might help, and certainly even for daily social interaction as a person who does no performance at all, anyone could gain something from an acting class, so of course a magician could. That all should go without saying. You realy want to perfect walk around, parlor, or any other type of interactive performance? Your best bet is join some interactive troupe or company. Festival entertainers, MCs, etc. Find people in the business and see if they will mentor you. Read till your blind. Sadly, there realy isn't a lot dedicated to this precise skill, however I would say just thinking about it, and trying to improve it would be a start. So many magicians focus on effects and ignore performance, it just makes me sad.
Bill Palmer
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Maybe you are looking in the wrong places. And maybe you are lumping too many perfomers into the same category.

Nobody expects a guy who walks into a magic shop and purchases NFW as his first trick to be able to put on a performance with it that would make people believe he was anything more than a fumble-fingered fool who had bought a card trick. But that does not mean that there are no close-up magicians who have done any serious acting study.

I'll say this right now -- you give me a good actor with no knowledge at all of magic, and in three months, I can have him performing an entertaining, believable close-up magic show. Or an entertaining, believable stage show. It probably wouldn't take that long, actually. A good actor will invariably make a much more convincing and entertaining magician than some finger flinger who hasn't really spent any time learning how to communicate with an audience.

The reason I know this is possible is that it has been done many times in the past. Burling Hull tutored Carol Baker and she won a convention trophy with her act. Fred Keating started out as an actor. The difference is in the way an actor thinks.

Van Cleve was an actor, first and foremost. He knew how to captivate an audience.

There is a lot of material available on how to act, and on how to act in connection with magic. It's been mentioned on the forum many times, so I'm not going to reiterate it here. You just need to know where to look, that's all.
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JackScratch
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I completely agree with that. In fact I'm attempting to apply that concept, more or less.

I have to say though, there is very little in standardised instruction for interactive entertainers. I know there is stuff out there, but not classes that you can join in any local college, in whatever town you may be. You can take an acting class anywhere, but it isn't likely to teach you how to perform for an audience that you actualy form a dialog with. I know many stage magicians don't break the fourth wall, and I'm certain (though it pains me) that some close up workers don't break it either. It just seems to me that magic that involves audience members adds a certain something. Someone wishing to develope that skill will have to do a bit of research to find work on the subject. It doesn't seem to be a very mainstream subject.

Bill, always loved your work with audience members.
Bill Palmer
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Drew:

Thanks.

It is audience involvement that is the key to the kind of work we do.

I'll see if I can think of some of the books that cover that area.

Cleve knew how to make it work.

Actually, one of the keys to it is to write in the part for the audience volunteer. You base it on imagining all the various responses he or she will come up with. Then your next line has alternate choices which lead back into the script.

Yep! In my latter years there, all that crap was scripted!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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