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

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magicalaurie
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Or the opposite route of Improvisation maybe? I've found it to be very helpful.
I like scripting, too.
There are different tools to choose from.
Shakespeare's Globe theatre- audience interaction there. Actors played very much to the audience.
JackScratch
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Actualy the book I'm writing has that advise almost verbatum. In fact, I think I posted that part around here somewhere as "Acting and Scripting 101". I'll see if I can find the link. I think you would be pretty impressed by what I've writen Bill. I never doubted it was all scripted though, it was too good not to be.


Found it.
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=106
Bill, you were certainly one of the inspirations for the stuff I'm writing.
Bill Palmer
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Thanks, Drew:

This is a good post, BTW. It's well thought out and to the point.

One of the biggest changes in my show happened when David Casey took over TRF. He gave me several suggestions that really improved my show. Another was when I did "Taming" with Jeff. He gave me some extra insight that I really needed.

Now, the primary difference between a magic show, specifically one in which you engage an audience directly, and a play is that, for the most part, plays have that fourth wall. In a magic show, the audience actually becomes part of the show. There are some notable exceptions. In Our Town, for example, the stage manager engages the audience directly. But the audience isn't expected to respond with dialogue. There are many manipulative acts that keep the fourth wall up. But the ones that make people like them are the ones that look the audience right in the eye, engage them, and make them feel as if they belong.

Even my close-up material is scripted now. It wasn't always, but I really find it more convenient. When I do a routine, I know exactly where I'm going with it. But I can still improvise a little if I need to.
"The Swatter"

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Whit Haydn
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The work of Viola Spolin, especially "Improvisation for the Theatre" and "Improvisation for the Lone Actor" are both excellent texts on improvisational acting.

The performer should be the lead in a performance piece that ensnares and involves the spectators, making them players in the story. It takes great skill to do this, and the exercises in Spolin's book are wonderful for developing one's ability to go with the flow and to trust your fellow performers.
JackScratch
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I'll look it up Whit. Nice to see so many people taking part in this discussion. I have, in the past, met with more resistance to the ideas of scripting and preparation, than support.

There is no doubt that David Casey changed Texas Rennaisance Festival forever, but it realy hadn't occoured to me that he would have had an effect on your performance Bill. You were well established long before he became the ED. Likewise with Jeff. I know they have both had an effect on my work, but in those days I realy had no where to go but up.
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-03-09 01:13, JackScratch wrote:
Nice to see so many people taking part in this discussion. I have, in the past, met with more resistance to the ideas of scripting and preparation, than support.


Gotta prepare. No doubt.
Bill Palmer
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I knew what David could do for an act. There was an act at Scarborough Faire called "Earthly Pleasures." They were a quartet of musicians who played authentic reproductions of period instruments. They were as boring as you could possibly imagine. But they were great musicians.

The leader of the group realized that something was missing. So he watched all the other acts. He decided that Rogue, Oaf and Foole were the best act, hat-wise, at the Faire. So he went to them and asked which one was the director. They told him David (Oaf) was.

They hired David to direct them. The next year, they were put off the main stage, where audience traffic was down. In spite of this, they made enough money in their first weekend hats to cover what they had paid David. And David wasn't cheap!

So when David had ideas, I was ready to accept them.
"The Swatter"

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EsnRedshirt
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I just wanted to add a small point to this topic. Although I consider that a good magician should be an actor (I consider myself to be both), it's probably just a matter of personal preference on the part of the performer.

That being said, its definately helpful for a magician to have acting and theatrical experience, especially if they do stage shows. I do have a degree in Theatre, and the things I've learned about theatre apply to so many things in stage magic, I don't think I could get by without them. Everything from directing, to building sets, to setting lighting, to sewing costumes- a good magician can make use of them all (and save quite a bit of money if they're handy with a hammer, saw, and thread and needles, to boot.) Plus, even if you don't know how to rig lighting, the experience will make it much easier to communicate your needs to the technicians who do.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
Bill Palmer
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Yes, it's much better to know what a Fresnel is, instead of "That doohickey with the funny front."
"The Swatter"

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Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2006-03-09 16:44, Bill Palmer wrote:
Yes, it's much better to know what a Fresnel is, instead of "That doohickey with the funny front."


That's the Fresnel? The doohickey? Thanks.
JackScratch
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Whit is a very funny man.

Yeah, David is a legend in his field. I actualy found some pictures of him as "Oaf" online. I'll see If I can find the link. Great pictures of you as well.

I'm realy not saying that Actors and Magicians do or do not have anything in common. What I am saying is that these word questions keep being brought up, when it's actualy a different question being asked. Of course magicians have a ton in common with actors. The question is, are they actors or not, and it's a worthles semantic question. It doesn't matter what words you use, the reality won't change.
magicalaurie
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On 2006-03-09 17:07, Whit Haydn wrote:
Quote:
That's the Fresnel? The doohickey? Thanks.

You don't fool me, Whit. Anyone who can spell Fresnel knows which one it is. Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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When we perform, we are offering our audience some time with a fictional person with paranormal abilities or who has access to paranormal objects. It's a play, a theatrical performance. When we are offering magic, we are acting as if magic were a real thing.

Unless of course you are acutally using magic and have magical items and/or paranormal abilities and are hanging out here to see what stuff you can get away with in public without getting busted as a mutant or worse.

;)
...to all the coins I've dropped here
cinemagician
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Ever done any real magic Jon? You know, like when Corinda says not to believe in your own press?
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
landmark
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Quote:
Unless of course you are acutally using magic and have magical items and/or paranormal abilities and are hanging out here to see what stuff you can get away with in public without getting busted as a mutant or worse.






Drat! Discovered!




Jack
Bill Palmer
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This question comes up so often as to almost make it meaningless. Usually it is started by someone who has just discovered the Magic Café and wants to get his post count high enough that he can get into the secret sessions. Sometimes it's a legitimate question.

This thread http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......71&0 may explain some of the reasons the question comes up at all.
"The Swatter"

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JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-03-09 18:32, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
When we perform, we are offering our audience some time with a fictional person with paranormal abilities or who has access to paranormal objects. It's a play, a theatrical performance. When we are offering magic, we are acting as if magic were a real thing.

Unless of course you are acutally using magic and have magical items and/or paranormal abilities and are hanging out here to see what stuff you can get away with in public without getting busted as a mutant or worse.

;)


Curiously, I often play myself up as having exceptional abilities with a deck of cards. I skirt mostly around the paranormal subject and just go for the talented gambler, dexterity, fast hands, and such. The thing is, that's all pretty much the truth. I find my audience takes it ever so slightly less as an insult to their intelegence. After all, I'm clearly not lieing to them.
braddevant
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You toss a ball in the air and your eyes follow it up, it vanishes and you express surpise. As a magician you know that if you don't beleive the ball was tossed up, neither will the audience. THAT IS ACTING my friends. We convey the mysteries of magical wonder to an audience and for a brief time, they believe. Isn't that what a stage actor does? We use carefully scripted dialog to weave our tales. Don't actors do the same? We are all part of this great profession of the theater. Embrace it.
Bill Palmer
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That may be true of good magicians, but it isn't true of ALL magicians, unfortunately. Magicians are as subject to Sturgeon's law as any other group of people.

People have to be taught to do these things. It doesn't happen by itself.

But the original question is whether "magician and actor" are synonymous. A good magician is an actor who portrays a magician. A good actor creates a kind of magic with his performance. But they are not synonymous. If they were, you would see Oscars going to "The best magician in a supporting role."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Patrick Differ
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All of this, except the comments on the Fresnel lens, keeps making me think of a favorite question of mine.

"How high is up?"

Asking if magicians are actors is a lot like asking this question, or questions like this one. They aren't really formulated correctly, yet they do generate wonderful and carefully thought-out ideas over four years that even mention Fresnel lenses.

I don't quite know if magicians are or aren't actors or vise versa, but I do know that knowing how to act has really, really, REALLY come in handy for me a great many times. So have Fresnel lenses.

With that said, I suppose the only correct answer to this question would be, "Twice as far as half-way."

:hmm:
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
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