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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2009 entrée: Jay Leslie » » Strait Jacket » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Rapid City, SD
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Profile of charliemartin

First, thanks for spending time with us. I have seen many guys do the strait jacket, lots of today's street performers use it. The problem is that today's audience having seen many, think it is easy to do. How would you suggest to put the suspense back into it?


jay leslie
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Southern California
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First let me say that I don't believe that people think getting out of a jacket is easy. Many people have never seen one up close. Story: For a while every kids performer in the area was performing a Die Box so I tried an experiment. I brought a blue Die Box into view and a few kids yelled "we saw that already". I said 'OHhhh you've seen the BLUE box...(I traded a blue Die Box for a red one) "But you've never seen the RED box... Have you? I proceeded to perform the entire routine with the expected response every time I used that ploy.

People remember shapes, sizes, colors and textures much better then how something works. The same problem occurred with the linking rings... so I said "OHhh you've seen these rings that are 8 inches... but did you see the ones that are 10 inches"? Same response - I presented the routine as usual.

Also consider that you can perform a M****** type livestock appearance and also use a Duck Bucket. Both have a similar gimmick but because they are "dressed" differently the average person can not put 2 and 2 together.

With all that said. If you do not us a mock jacket you are at the head of the class. No need, when you can just as easily go with the real deal.

What you can do is to find someone who is 20 lbs heavier then you and put them in your jacket. When they can't get out there is no need to prove anything.

The tack that I take is to put the person in the jacket and tell them to Get Out "No,.. I mean it... get out... that way... down off the stage...That's right... while you try to get out of the jacket we'll do something else"

And I do. I perform another effect and occasionally check in with the volunteer. 300 performances like that and 4 people have got their arms over their head but were stuck after that - no one ever escaped. It's also great theatre because the audience watches both you and the volunteer at the same time... it's exciting.

Even if the audience knows you'll escape they are still fascinated by the procedure. Look at Nascar, you know the cars go around and around and someone will win yet they have a big following because - you never know what will come next - anything can happen.

That's the kind of suspense you need to create. Will you fall off the stage, drop to one knee, get a terrible pained look on your face, become so out of breath that your face turns red. It's all about the theatre. You are an actor playing the role of a magician (or EA). Your greatest goal is NOT to perform the way you think the audience will respond but to perform in the best way that WILL get the audience to respond. Film yourself at every show and review the audience reaction. Cut out the parts that don't work even if you love them.

In my opinion you need to make the escape an event to itself. If you had an illusion show with no music - no curtains - no costumes (you get the idea) and all you did was walk up to a box and a big cat appeared.... without all the buildup and the dancers, dancing around..... it would be more like a demonstration then a show.

This is the biggest problem with some who escape the jacket. it looks more like a demonstration then a show/performance. If you want the audience to get into it then you must tell a story, The story is "man against machine". It's the story of how the human spirit can not be dominated.... that we will overcome all obstacles and odds, that nothing is impossible. My escape DVDs have more detail then I can go into here. This is just the tip of the iceberg,

Hope that helps.
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