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Pop Haydn
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N'est-ce pas, Bill.

Pardon my French... Smile
puggo
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Quote:
On 2013-07-16 13:21, Pop Haydn wrote:
.....I am generally competent at performing magic,....


Erm.. you can say that again!

Quote:
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On 2013-07-18 00:14, Magic-Scott wrote:
It's brilliant Whit. I don't think there is any advantage to throwing away three cards over throwing away one. You did a great job of varying the methods. The only thing that might make it stronger is if a spectator could take the cards out of the envelope and initially count them out into your hand. However, that clearly creates other issues that you would need to think through.... Thanks for sharing.

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If you have a method, I will give you my first born child... (Quote)

I'm sure you would have thought of this / it has been mentioned, but what about having the extras under the envelope with the flap of the envelope folded back over them. Spec take out the cards (while you hold the envelope), counts & returns them. Extras are then added via brief contact etc etc.
Could even gaff the outside of the envelope to create a 'half pocket' (on one side of the envelope) so only a few fingers are needed to cover / you can flash both sides..

Anyhow, back to the scheduled programme. Your performances are always fantastic to watch Mr Haydn.
Charlie
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I've never been a fan of the six card repeat. I have performed Bill Abbott's 5 card opener and it gets good reactions. I think I haven't been a fan of the plot because there hasn't been a great ending in my opinion.

I really enjoyed your routine. I think that the cards accidentally falling, being thrown the opposite way you're looking, and being dropped to the floor behind your back were really nice touches. It is entertaining. I like that you end with the first time the trick is successful.
harbour
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This persona is so well crafted, so well thought of, that the audiences I have been in, would be happy just to hear you talk and tell anecdotes of the old west or a funny story. And coming off as the host is both welcoming and inviting. You own the stage.

The props are in character and real. There is a reason they accompany you.

"...and you can take my word for it, because I counted it myself": charming.

Seventh card/"messing with the props", side: funny.

First accidential drop/audience reveal, gets the audience notice: You've got them hooked.

I love the glass dish. It's disarming and throws two or three possible lay explanations to dust.

The three card drop, flip and toss: Great. Love the stop at the fifth card: "Something is wrong."
(possible side call back to the 'messing with the props:' "I needed that extra card... now!")

Next one handed count: Redemption.

You just counted six, Do you need to count six, again? Why not go right into the seventh card?
Wouldn't it fit the persona that you are just as surprised as the audience with the seventh card? It's a nice, shared moment.

And the SECOND seventh count shows that the cards... rather, the mathematical symmetry, of advanced proportions of the architectural dimensions of the magic castle are taking over... Love that wide eyed stare.

After this SECOND count of seven cards and the 'magic castle measurements', you could simply toss the cards.
Or go into the dimensions at the begining and start the routine just shy of center stage, because that's where the Castle Absoute Center... is. Every other count from then on, is at the whim of the Castle...

Once you count to six, we expect the cards to change to something else. The second six count could be dissapointing.

Go from the SECOND Count of Seven Cards to Tossing one, two, three, four, five... six playing cards.

Having said all that, I only add comments because you invited such, and it was a fun exercise to critique the rare professional who always has the most thought out and smartest routines. It was the best six card effect I've seen, in no small order because it was you perfoming the effect. Whether it is WH or PH, Every perfomance is truly enjoyable as guest, a master class as a magician, and another great shared moment as a friend.
Pop Haydn
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Thanks!
Sealegs
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In a spirit of both wanting to be helpful and as an analytical exercise I PM'd my thoughts on the structure of Pop's routine to Pop. I didn't want to post it here but Pop has asked me to share my thoughts on this thread to get other contributors feedback... so get ready for a long read.

I agree with David harbour's comments and those others who, in this thread and elsewhere, have expressed a similar admiration of Pop's persona and character that is so well crafted that he appears not to be able to be anything other then hugely entertaining to watch and listen to ....and this holds true almost regardless of what he might be doing.

When looking at the structure of this effect though I think Pop's personality overshadows the problems that are inherent in the structure of the routine. Such problems remain even though an entertaining piece is being presented. The routine ends up being entertaining despite it's structure rather than in part because of it. (I can already hear the knives being unsheathed)

Here is why; Firstly in general terms I ask the questions; what's the effect and what's the conceit? A sign of a good piece of magic is that the effect can be easily, fully and accurately described in one short pithy phrase and I struggle to do this with this routine. It is a symptom that something is not well with with it.

Onto the specifics;... The routine starts with the trick being called a classic using 6 cards... and Pop counts 7. As he's been insistent and has assured us that there are only 6 cards the 7th card's presence plays as a nice piece of comedy business. This is a nice start.

The extra card is tossed aside and the 6 cards are shown. In explaining what's going to happen Pop unknowingly drops a card but turns out still to have 6.

Pop points out that at this point he has unknowingly done the trick and that the audience now has two perspectives to maintain. Their own... he did a trick and Pop's... he didn't do a trick. While I don't think this is necessarily a stretch for most people to consider the introduction this double perspective can be a struggle for some audience members. For now lets assume they're all on board with it though

In order to follow the magic and the plot it's vital that the routine is structured so that the audience knows what the situation is supposed to be. If they're not following the path that they are supposed to be following they'll be heading of in a different direction and get lost. So we're assuming the audience have the 'two perspectives' thing in hand.... there is another potential problem here though. To be on the path we are supposed to be on not only have to have the perspective thing sorted we also have to know whether Pop genuinely make a mistake when he dropped the card or if it is part of the routine?

If the audience genuinely believe Pop made a mistake then there there has been no effect from anyone's perspective. There is no effect if there is not an intention to create one. The fact that 6 cards still remain after one has been dropped would become merely an suspiciously strange oddity.

But maybe we are not supposed to see this as a genuine mistake... maybe we are supposed to understand that this 'mistakenly' dropped card is in fact part of the theatre of the piece.... in which case there is an effect and two perspectives.

So which of these situations is the one Pop want us to think? I'm still not sure, and if I'm not sure some of the audience won't be sure and unsureness of a plot can lead to confusion.

Lets continue....

Pop now throws a card away but 'mistakenly' or 'accidentally' throws away two others as well.

Now, if this left Pop with 6 cards we the audience would have something we would now recognise as a plot .... the conceit would be that whatever number of cards are lost, in whatever way they are lost, and whether Pop 'knows' they're lost or not, he will always end with 6. We'd have a consistent plot point we could follow and the magic and the effect would be clear.

But instead what happens is Pop ends up with 5.

An interesting variation... but what are we supposed to make of this? Even after several viewings and much thought I can't think of any rationale that makes sense (in the way that magic makes sense and has a logic) and that's a luxury the public don't get.

For me this 6-3=5 moment is equivalent to producing 4 random cards face up in a face down spread at the end of a Triumph routine rather than say, 4 aces. Any four cards ending up face up in the middle of a face up face down shuffled deck will be odd and puzzling but if the four cards are the four aces the effect makes sense (in the way magic effects make sense) in a way that 4 random cards don't.

So Pop threw 1 away and he was expecting to be left with 6 but he dropped two without knowing it and is left with 5...

If you had time and a pencil and paper you might be able to work out that.... if the trick didn't work for any of the lost cards then there'd be 3 cards left.... if the trick worked for all the lost cards there'd be 6 cards left...to make sense of having 5 cards left (and it's an unsatisfying 4 random cards at the end of a triumph effect kind of sense) you have to consider that the trick work for the two accidentally lost cards but not for the deliberately thrown away card... or that it worked for the deliberately thrown away card and one of the dropped cards but not the other one... and this is just from our perspective...we also then have to try and work out what's going on from Pop's perspective who 'doesn't realsise' that he dropped some cards.

Talk about confusing!!!

And why does the trick work for the two dropped cards and not the deliberately thrown away card? What's the conceit here? This can be asked many times during this routine and it's a hard (for me sometimes impossible) question to answer. This indicates a fundamental problem with the structure and plot.

Now I'm not suggesting that the audience goes through this mental process of trying to work out what's going on... without doubt they don't... it's way too complicated and confusing... they just let the moment wash over them... but this means they basically have no idea what the effect is supposed to be or what is supposed to be happening at this point.

I see evidence for this born out in the sparse, individual and nervous sounding laughter on the video both at this point (when you count 5) and when you add the, "did I drop one?" comment. This comment that doesn't alleviate any of the confusion of what just happened. We are still none the wiser and in fact it just makes things more confusing as Pop dropped two.

Lets move on....

Pop recounts the cards and now he has 6 instead of 5. This is yet more confusion!

Did he miscount 5 the first time through? Did a 6th card magically reappear? Was the whole think all a big ruse with Pop showing us that he can actually count the cards as any number randomly as you want? Unfortunately we the audience don't know the answers to these questions. From a magic and plot point of view it's simply confusing as to what's happened and as to what the effect actually is.. or is supposed to be.

I believe though, that when Pop counts 6 cards at this point, the audience are to some degree simply relieved that at least there are 6 cards back in play (we know there are supposed to be six from the opening patter) as that means that from the confusion something is at least back on track... but we still don't know what the effect was or is supposed to be. (Pop initially told us that it's 6-1=6 but we've seen other things too that aren't that... which means we really don't know what the effect is or is supposed to be)

Pop's comment, "I thought I made a mistake but I was obviously wrong" also doesn't help here to clear any confusion and simply adds more of it into the mix.

There's simply too much to try and decipher here and I still don't know what it is Pop wants the audience to think and which path it is that he wants to lead them down. The action has become progressively more confusing and to use a well worn but useful phrase, confusion is not magic.

Continung with the routine...

Now the cards are counted again and 6 cards are confirmed by this count... then the cards are counted again ostensibly to do the 6-1=6 trick and there are 7. Again what's the conceit here?

One is thrown away and then the cards are counted again and there are again 7.

So... so far in this routine we've had; 6-1=6, then 6-3=5, then 5=6, then 6=7, then 7-1=7. Looking just at the figures in this way of course doesn't factor in the patter but never the less it shows how difficult it is to pick out any semblance of what is supposed to be happening and what the conceit is.

The structure laid bare like this would suggest maybe that the cards are out of the magicians control and have a life of their own but the presentation doesn't suggest this either physically or with the script or in the way it's acted and played out. Pop still keeps an air of being in control throughout because you intermittently (seemingly almost randomly though) come back to having 6 cards.

It's not that is until after the routine is nearly over that we are offered some kind of post hoc explanation for the confusion we've watched. But by then we've already been confused so it's too late and it it adds nothing to our understanding of the details of the elements we've seen.

Finally it's not until the last count of 6 with one thrown away and 6 being left that we have something recognisable as a discernible trick.

Now I realise that this is the idea... that the trick Pop is trying to do happens, for Pop at least, for the first time at the very end of the routine. But the audience has still had to try and sort out what was supposed to be going during the rest of the routine as it was happening... and the things that were happening were generally not able to be made head nor tale of.

It's only at this point that the previous 4 minutes of confusion gets some sort of explanation.. and the explanation is basically... everything was getting messed up because of the weirdness of the magic castle... it's almost an admission that everything else that happened was a confusing mishmash... (confusing mishmashes don't make for good magic) but at the time when we the audience were watching it we didn't know it was supposed to be just a bunch of non rational or random moments that weren't supposed to make any sense....... all we see/saw is/was a confusion of cards being counted in a way that made no sense. (other than the same sense that 4 random cards make as the finish to a Triumph effect)

The explanation does not work to tie the loose ends of what happened together... it merely restates their loose endness nature which doesn't really help.


To sum up:... I believe it's Pop's likeability, personality and presence that carries this routine through and gets him the reaction that it does in spite of the shortcomings I have pointed out in it's structure. I suspect that virtually anything he does would be entertaining and enjoyable to watch and listen to just because it was Pop who was doing it. This means routines with strong and weak structures are both going to play for Pop to some degree.

I can hear shouts of, 'Hey the routine's entertaining so it doesn't matter.'

Well maybe it doesn't matter (it would to me but I understand that it might not to others)... but as Pop specifically asked for comments on the routine's structure that's what I've given. As I said at the start of my post... I've only posted my comments here in this thread because Pop has specifically requested me to do so so others might give their feedback on them.

Of course anyone posting here can say whatever you want however they want.. but if you disagree it would be helpful if you state and explain why. If I see confusion and you don't explain what conceit you see at that point and explain how it holds true for the rest of the routine.

Along with Pop I'll be interested to hear any comments.

:cool:
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
BarryFernelius
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Sealegs,

I don't think that the audience is doing the kind of analysis that you claim. For the audience, I think that it's very clear that something underhanded is going on, but they can't seem to figure out what it might be. It's a minor impossibility, but it lets us get to know Pop. On one level, we enjoy watching these inanimate pasteboards befuddle Pop. On another level, we suspect that Pop is pulling our leg, and he knows a lot more than we think he knows.

Here's what I see when I watch the trick:

1. Pop takes out a packet of six cards. Because the trick won't work unless there are exactly six cards, Pop counts them and discovers that he has seven. "Someone's been playing with the props." Pop throws away the seventh card. Then, Pop double checks, and verifies that he really has six cards. (Good. We're ready to begin.)

2. Pop now explains what the trick is about. He claims that the trick is strictly mathematical. He's going to toss one card out into the audience, and still have six cards remaining. In the midst of this explanation, Pop drops a card, but he's unaware of that fact. When he counts the cards and shows that there are still six, he thinks that the trick is ready to begin. The audience knows that trick has already started!

3. Now Pop gets ready to do the trick. He really does throw one away, but in the process he unwittingly drops two more. Now, from Pop's point of view, if the trick is working correctly, he should still have six cards. The audience KNOWS that in a normal universe, he should have three cards. When Pop counts the cards, he discovers that he has five cards. From Pop's point of view, that means that the trick didn't work. From the audience's point of view, it appears that impossible things are happening with that packet of cards. Pop wonders if he's dropped a card. The audience KNOWS that he's dropped at least three cards so far.

4. Pop re-counts the cards, and discovers that he has six. He must have been mistaken before. Perhaps order has been restored to the universe. Now the audience doesn't know what to think about that packet of cards. (I think around this point there's an extra six count that shouldn't have been there.) Now, he's ready to do the trick. He checks again, just to make sure, but now he has seven cards! (At this point, the audience believes that the packet of cards can contain any number of cards that it wants to contain.) This point is also a call-back to the very beginning of the trick, when Pop started out with seven cards.

5. Determined to make this trick work, Pop discards the extra card. At this point Pop decides to make sure that he has six cards, and he finds that he still has seven cards. He discards another card.

6. Pop knows what must have been happening. He explains that there must be something wrong with the mathematics in the room. That's why the trick isn't working. Undeterred, Pop will try just one more time. Pop slowly shows that he has six cards, counted in a fan so that everyone can see that everything's fair. He clearly throws away one card. Then, he still has six cards remaining. Success at last!


How an audience member might tell the story afterword:

Audience member: Pop had this packet of cards that seemed to have a mind of its own. He started out with six cards, and he kept discarding and dropping cards, but the packet still ended up with six cards in it. (BTW, this is the one or two sentence summary that someone will use to describe the trick.)

Skeptical friend: They must have been some kind of trick cards.

Audience member: No, they weren't. I picked up a few of them during the trick. Take a look.

Skeptical friend: They look like normal cards. He must have been doing something tricky when he was counting the cards.

Audience member: NO! The cards were counted very fairly and dropped into a clear bowl so that we could see what was happening.

Skeptical friend: Still, I bet he was counting them the same way each time.

Audience member: NO! He even thumbed off cards into the bowl with one hand. Heck, he even held them up in a fan and I could see that there were six. But when he threw away one card, six cards still remained.

Skeptical friend: OK, if you say so. Sounds impossible to me. I'd love to see that for myself.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
Sealegs
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Thanks for your comments Barry,

I think you might have missed part of my post, which is not surprising given the length of it, because you start by saying, "I don't think that the audience is doing the kind of analysis that you claim."

I didn't claim that the audience will be doing any analysis and in fact my point is that they don't. I said, "Now I'm not suggesting that the audience goes through this mental process of trying to work out what's going on... without doubt they don't... it's way too complicated and confusing... they just let the moment wash over them... but this means they basically have no idea what the effect is supposed to be"

An audience following a plot simply tries to make sense of it. If it's clear they have no problems if it's a confusion of complications they struggle with it and and let it wash over them or disengage. Here they don't disengage because Pop is immensely engaging but the structure of the routine is still confusing.

I hope Pop finds your comments useful. I certainly found them interesting especially as your description of what you saw when watching the routine perfectly illustrates the confusion that the structure of the routine creates. I hope you don;t mind me quoting from your own post to illustrate this confusion.

Taking your numbered points;
In 2; you say, "The audience knows that trick has already started." This is only true if they are sure that the dropped 1st card was not a genuine mistake but was in fact a mistake that is part of the routine... but lets assume that the audience all gets that as the main source of confusion follows this.

In 3. you say, "From the audience's point of view, it appears that impossible things are happening with that packet of cards." This 'impossible things' description is an accurate description and it's vagueness is understandable. It's equivalent to saying, " I have no idea what's going on or is supposed to be going on". Why are the number of cards what they are and not some other number? If we know the plot or conceit then we can answer this. As we don't, the vague, 'impossible things' is as good a description as we can give.

In 4 you say, " Now the audience doesn't know what to think about that packet of cards." Now here we are in agreement. They don't know what to think... If they knew what the plot was they'd know what was supposed to be going on and then they would know what to think. They'd know the plot's rationale for there being five cards, then six then seven. But as you rightly point out, "we don't know what to think." We (and you from this description) remain confused

Also in 4 you say, " the audience believes that the packet of cards can contain any number of cards that it wants to contain." So the conceit is that there's no plot to follow? The cards are doing what they please at random? If that's the case how are we supposed to follow whats going on? If it's random we can't and trying to will get us nowhere... so we end up confused and rather than try and work it out we let it wash over us. The only reason we don't then disengage our interest is because we allow ourselves to be entertained by Pop's presence

Here's my version of how an audience member might tell the story afterwards:

Audience member: Pop had a packet of cards and was going to show us a trick where you throw one of 6 away and have 6 left... but sometimes there were 6 cards and sometimes there weren't... and he dropped some now and then without knowing... and different numbers of cards were left that didn't bare any relation to how many there should be.... except sometimes they did...and then they didn't...

Skeptical friend: Sounds confusing.

Audience member: yeah it was... but it was still entertaining.

Skeptical friend; Ahh well that sound like Pop.
Neal Austin

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Pop Haydn
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I don't believe the audience was confused. Their reactions were great in every show that week, and exactly what I expected them to be, and in the places I expected them to be...that seems odd if they were confused about what was going on.

When people say the character is entertaining, even if the script is not, I would like to know what they mean. I think that this is very true about Michael Finney's routine, in which he makes fun of the trick and the plot, but I don't do that. What is funny and entertaining about Pop in this routine? What makes it work, if not for the routine itself? What are the funny lines? What is the source of the laughter?
BarryFernelius
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Just a few more clarifications, and then I'm done.
Quote:
On 2013-07-20 21:25, Sealegs wrote:
Taking your numbered points;
In 2; you say, "The audience knows that trick has already started." This is only true if they are sure that the dropped 1st card was not a genuine mistake but was in fact a mistake that is part of the routine... but lets assume that the audience all gets that as the main source of confusion follows this.

Trust me; the dropping of the card has been staged so that everyone will notice it. Pop is a good actor, and momentarily, we might think it was an accident. When the packet still contains six cards, there is no longer any doubt: this was no accident. Pop's messing with us.
Quote:
In 3. you say, "From the audience's point of view, it appears that impossible things are happening with that packet of cards." This 'impossible things' description is an accurate description and it's vagueness is understandable. It's equivalent to saying, " I have no idea what's going on or is supposed to be going on". Why are the number of cards what they are and not some other number? If we know the plot or conceit then we can answer this. As we don't, the vague, 'impossible things' is as good a description as we can give.

'Impossible things' is NOT equivalent to vague or confusing. The context of this performance is a magic show at the Magic Castle, for goodness sake. That means 'impossible things' = 'magical things'. Magic is an effect with no possible cause--except, of course, magic.

Quote:
In 4 you say, " Now the audience doesn't know what to think about that packet of cards." Now here we are in agreement. They don't know what to think... If they knew what the plot was they'd know what was supposed to be going on and then they would know what to think. They'd know the plot's rationale for there being five cards, then six then seven. But as you rightly point out, "we don't know what to think." We (and you from this description) remain confused

Also in 4 you say, " the audience believes that the packet of cards can contain any number of cards that it wants to contain." So the conceit is that there's no plot to follow? The cards are doing what they please at random? If that's the case how are we supposed to follow whats going on? If it's random we can't and trying to will get us nowhere... so we end up confused and rather than try and work it out we let it wash over us. The only reason we don't then disengage our interest is because we allow ourselves to be entertained by Pop's presence.

'The audience does not know what to think about that packet of cards' is NOT equivalent to confusion, despite your insistence to the contrary. The actions that have happened haven't confused the audience, but they have fooled the audience, made the audience laugh, and introduced the audience to Pop.

Quote:
Here's my version of how an audience member might tell the story afterwards:

Audience member: Pop had a packet of cards and was going to show us a trick where you throw one of 6 away and have 6 left... but sometimes there were 6 cards and sometimes there weren't... and he dropped some now and then without knowing... and different numbers of cards were left that didn't bare any relation to how many there should be.... except sometimes they did...and then they didn't...


At last we can agree on something. I did hear a member of the audience describe the trick in almost exactly the same way you just did. But I don't blame him for being confused. After all, he'd had so many martinis that he could barely stand!

As always, feel free to have the last word on this.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
Sealegs
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Pop,

Some people are charismatically engaging to listen to. There is something about them that makes you want to engage with them. An audience may find them enigmatically alluring, or whimsically interesting, or sexually arresting or hypnotically inviting, or quirkily surprising, or whatever... Other people can talk on or give demonstrations of the most interesting, thought provoking and fascinating subject matter and still come across as bland, uninteresting, dull or whatever.

As the old saying goes, 'If they like you they'll like whatever you do... if they don't like you it doesn't matter what you do they'll still won't like you."

Pop, the audience likes you. Anything you do to allow them to like you more is a bonus. The magic... is a bonus.

This is what is funny and entertaining about Pop in this routine. This is what makes the routine work, This is why they find what you say in parts funny. It is your character more than the lines and action that is the source of the laughter.

Of course the character has to say and or do something and this will plays a part in how they respond to specific elements but in general they respond to your character.

So... they like you... which means they are predisposed to like what you do... This gives your material a lot of leeway.. and as such an audiences end reaction to a routine is not necessarily an indication that what is being done is well structured.

Pop, you say the crowds' reactions have been exactly what you expected them to be in the places you expected them to be. What do you expect them to be when you count 5 cards?

On the video I hear one lone nervous laugh from a lady... then your comment, "did I drop one", gets an unsure sounding laugh from a few of the audience... and then when you recount the cards as 6 the audience clearly doesn't know what or how they are supposed to react. A lone person hesitantly starts to applaud and some of the rest of the audience limply join in. Then when you count the cards and there are 7 for a second time you get no reaction at all... nothing... this is the sound of an audience not knowing what's going on or how they are supposed to react.

After their non response you skilfully get a nice warm small laugh from acting perplexed and bothered by the extra 7th card... This is something they understand and can react to. You are good at expressing your character through facial expressions and the audience responds to it. (rather than the situation which at this point they, like me, can't follow)

The audience like you and have a great warmth for you and that is evident from the moment you step out and before you have 'done' anything.... they want to be able to show that they like you and what you are doing... but they can't in the points in the routine where they have no idea what's going on. In the middle of the routine there is, as Barry says, a series of impossible happenings... but what's the conceit here? The audience clearly has no idea... I don't either.

The routine ends with a discernible effect and you get a good reaction to that. That's great. But it doesn't mean the routine's structure doesn't have the issues that I have pointed out and that the audiences reaction in the video seem to confirm and that you invited comment on.

Again I ask the simple question... what's the conceit? (the magician's logic which governs the magic effect) or what's the plot? or what's the effect?

Barry offers that, 'impossible things are happening'. All magic consists of impossible things happening. 'Impossible things happening' is not a plot description or conceit, it's the vaguest description possible of any thing that it doesn't subscribe to how natural laws are understood to work and operate.

If there not a plot or conceit to explain the magicians' logic of what is going on in the middle of the routine how can we possibly know what's supposed to be going on? And if we don't know what's supposed to be going on how can we know what the effect is?

This is why I say that the audience is confused. By that I don't mean that they will be scratching their heads... they will simply find themselves in a temporary plot limbo... unable to react to the action because they don't know what the action is or isn't achieving.(as born out by their responses in the video) When the plot comes back and they feel they once again have a handle on what's going on and once again have an opportunity to express their positivity towards the performer that they undoubtedly like and enjoy watching.
Neal Austin

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Darwin Ortiz
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Quote:
On 2013-07-20 08:21, Sealegs wrote:
...A sign of a good piece of magic is that the effect can be easily, fully and accurately described in one short pithy phrase and I struggle to do this with this routine...

Sealegs,

The more I read of your posts in this thread, the more I feel that you and I were watching two different videos--particularly when it comes to your interpretations of the audience reactions. But I’ll limit myself to addressing the above comment.

At the outset the performer states the intended effect. “To take one of six playing cards and toss it into the audience and, in spite of that, I’m still going to have one, two, three, four, five, and six playing cards.” That effect is achieved in the final phase.

On the way to achieving the intended effect there occurs a series of what a dramatist would call “complications.” These complications use a common comedic technique sometimes called “the hostility of objects.” The complications themselves involve magic. The magic effect of the complications is easily stated: The number of cards is never what it should be. (Why you label this “confusion” I don’t know.)

When the performer finally achieves the intended effect in the final phase, he has not only triumphed over the laws of nature, he has also triumphed over whatever perverse force was trying to sabotage his efforts.

Sincerely,
Darwin Ortiz

PS: It’s clear to me from watching the performance that the audience always realizes that dropping the cards is part of the dramatic reality of the performance, not a real mistake.
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[quote]On 2013-07-21 07:02, Darwin Ortiz wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-07-20 08:21, Sealegs wrote:
...A sign of a good piece of magic is that the effect can be easily, fully and accurately described in one short pithy phrase and I struggle to do this with this routine...Sealegs,

The more I read of your posts in this thread, the more I feel that you and I were watching two different videos--particularly when it comes to your interpretations of the audience reactions. But I’ll limit myself to addressing the above comment.

At the outset the performer states the intended effect. “To take one of six playing cards and toss it into the audience and, in spite of that, I’m still going to have one, two, three, four, five, and six playing cards.” That effect is achieved in the final phase.

To be fair, he doesn't state it at the outset; that statement doesn't come until roughly half-way through the routine.

(I don't disagree with the rest of your analysis, only with this misstatement of fact.)
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Actually, I state the purpose of the trick as soon as we are all on the same page that there are six cards.

I name the Six Card Trick, take out a packet of six cards and count them. There is an extra one. I toss it and count again.

No magic has happened. I counted seven, threw away one, and counted six.

Now I state the theme of the trick. "I will take one of these six cards, toss it away, and will still have one, two, three, four, five, six playing cards."

As I explain this, I accidentally and unknowingly drop one, and still count six.

The trick has already been accomplished but I DON'T KNOW IT. This is the third count, and the first magical event. The point of the exercise is stated before any magic happens, and then the magic happens before I realize it.

I would not say I don't set the object of the effect until half-way through the routine. It is set before any magic starts.

The first count of seven is an accident, a mistake, or someone playing a joke. Later we can look back and see that it was the start of the rebellion of the props, but at first, both the audience and the magician see it as some kind of glitch--not as a magic event.

The fourth count has three cards eliminated, and now FOUR cards have been dropped from the pack of six, and now there are FIVE. Had I shown SIX, the effect would have to end.

This is the first time I realize something is wrong. In my mind, nothing has happened so far, but one card has been thrown away, and I now have five instead of the six I expected. Confused, I count and find that there are six, but since that wasn't very clean, I propose to start over.

Now though, there are seven cards again. I throw one away, and there are still seven.

Puzzled, I realize that there is something weird happening--maybe the mathematics of the room are "off."

But that is what makes the whole thing possible anyway, and I count six cards into my hand, throw away one, and still have ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE and SIX cards.

I think the audience followed the routine very well. I did 21 shows, and got the laughs and gasps exactly the same place each time, and a strong reaction. It was my opening effect, and I assure you that I would know if the audience didn't get excited about it.

There are still some things to fix. The ending on this one was weak, because I paused in the wrong place in the line "something wrong with the mathematics...in this room." I think that break was a bit confusing and needs to be taken out.

I think that the line introducing the last count needs to be more clear about the odd mathematics in the room being necessary for the trick to work, even if it is sometimes unpredictable.

The big mistake for me was missing the first count of seven in the right handed count. I counted six twice instead of only once.
So I had to do another count than I should have.

I don't think the laughs came from my entertaining character. They come from the audience empathy with the character's confusion, and the feeling that they know something the performer does not...at least on the surface.

I never know what to say about it when someone speaks of charisma and charm--as if that is something that is inherent or natural to the performer.

I am a nerdy fourteen year old, timid and afraid of public speaking. Pop is a made-up character. His words, voice and mannerisms are all created for him.

When I write funny things for him to say, I also have to consider how they will be said. I actually don't do many jokes or funny lines in any of my routines. Most of the laughs come from the situations and the character's reaction to them.

To suggest that people "just like me" and that it doesn't make any difference what I am doing or saying is mildly insulting.

I wrote the script of this routine carefully over a number of years before ever putting it on the stage. It is the peculiar events of the Six Card Trick, and Pop's confusion and surprise and frustration at them that creates humor--not just some inherent "charm."

Pop doesn't have any inherent anything. He is made up.

Would you credit an actor's wonderful performance of Falstaff as being due just to his personal "charm" or perhaps, a bit, to the wonderfully written words and actions that Shakespeare put into him?
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Remember, the first two counts are not magical. Nothing magically happens until after the premise of the trick, throw away one and still have six, is completely clear.

The first time I actually try to accomplish the feat, it screws up. The thrown card doesn't come back.

When I have only five cards instead of the six I expect, I am only slightly confused--"that should have worked"--I don't know that three extra cards have been dropped accidentally. Could I have made a mistake?

I check and, NOPE! There were six cards all along! I did it! But I know it didn't look that good...

The audience reaction is different from mine. They also are a bit confused, not because the trick didn't work, but because it actually worked three times, and now seems to have not worked completely. They expected six, but only five showed up. What do they think? Did he drop one too many? He must be "out of cards."

When I recount as six, they realize that the trick has actually worked four times already without Pop "knowing." They should be surprised, amazed, and puzzled at this point. Where does he go from here?

The performer's understanding of what is happening is at odds with the audience's more complete understanding. They see and notice a lot of things Pop does not. Most of the humor comes from this.

I need to make it clear that the five count was a mistake from my point of view, a miscount. From the audience point of view it is very mysterious. They have seen four cards thrown or dropped instead of just one, and there are still six cards!

I claim that since I miscounted, we will start over, and now there are seven cards. I throw away one, and still there are seven. This is the first time I begin to realize there is something more going on than a miscount. I sense something weird is happening.

That is when I realize that the mathematics of the room are off, and that I just need to somehow use that to make the trick work. It is, after all, a mathematical trick.

In one sentence, "The magician proposes to show six cards, throw away one, and still have six, and after a number of magical complications and setbacks, he does it."

It is, as Roy Benson said, a rather minor mystery, but the fun is in the magical out of control problems the magician faces getting there.
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Quote:
On 2013-07-21 14:24, Pop Haydn wrote:
I would not say I don't set the object of the effect until half-way through the routine. It is set before any magic starts.

I meant only that the actual statement of the effect occurs at 2:33. I wasn't saying that it is inappropriate that it occurs then . . . only that it, in fact, does occur then.
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Quote:
On 2013-07-21 15:04, Pop Haydn wrote:
Remember, the first two counts are not magical. Nothing magically happens until after the premise of the trick, throw away one and still have six, is completely clear.

You're correct, of course. Perhaps Darwin meant something different by "at the outset" than I took from the statement. (He may have intended it to mean, "before any magic happens" as opposed to "before anything important or germain happens".) I simply wanted to point out that some people might contend that it didn't happen, literally, at the outset.
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Hi Darwin,

Thanks for the post and the comments.

I agree with all but one thing that you say in your post. The reason I don't agree with that one thing is it is factually incorrect. (Perhaps we are watching different videos?) If it wasn't factually incorrect... and what you said was true and accurate.... the conceit you succinctly describe would be born out by the actions in the routine and I don't think there would be the confusion that there currently is.

As you said Darwin, Pop states what the intended effect is at the outset. (we agree with this) On the way to achieving the intended effect there are indeed a series of complications. (we agree on this too)

You say that these complications involve magic (things end up not as they ought to be so we can agree on this) and the complication is... (here comes the important sticking point) the number of cards are never what they should be.

If only this were true. As I said... perhaps we are watching different videos?

If this was true. and the number of cards are never what they should be Pop would have a much better structured routine. But it's patently not true. Pop starts out by being sure there are 6 cards and discovers he has 7...the start of the conceit of the 'hostility of objects' is underway.... he throws the extra card away and has... how many? oh... 6. The very number he wants and needs. 7-1=6.. So the 'hostility of objects' conceit vanishes before it gets any chance to find it's way into the audiences' understanding.

Darwin I think you have pin pointed the fundamental problem with the structure of Pop's routine. The conceit isn't carried through.

If at this point the cards were some number other than 6 then the audience would have a chance to catch on. As it is they can't catch onto a conceit because it isn't established. Its undermined immediately after it first shows itself.

If the hostility of the objects was consistent, either in their effect (such as producing the same result regardless of the actions involving the objects) or in their hostility (producing any inconsistent result in actions involving them) then the audience has a chance to recognise this. (They have more chance with first of these two scenarios though and that is the basis of the plot of the classic 6 card repeat!)

But when the objects are only sometimes hostile and then sometimes acquiescent what is the audience to make of it? How are they to grasp a concept when what they would need to base that concept on is denied them? If there is nothing to explain why the objects are hostile one moment and why they acquiescent the next what are the audience to think? How can they be expected to accept the hostility of objects conceit when it is not being played out? or only being played out now and then

Darwin, you are the first person here to at least put forward a plot (or more specifically a conceit) that would make sense.

If the routine followed the conceit you put forward I think it would be much stronger for it and certainly less confusing. Pop wanted comments about the routine's structure and maybe this will help solidify that.

PS: re your PS; I agree that it is quite clear that the audience realises the dropping of the cards is part of the dramatic reality of the performance and not a real mistake. This is born out by their ebullient laughter on both occasions this happens in the routine. (I am readily able to distinguish ebullient laughter from unsure nervous laughter and confused silence.) The only reason I wanted to mentioned it as potentially introducing a confusion is that the first time it happens it creates a situation where, as Pop said in a previous post on this thread, the audience has to hold two perspectives in their head... ie; what's happening from their own perspective and what's happening from Pop's perspective. This isn't any kind of problem at the moment it first happens which is why I laboured the point that we ought to assume that the entire audience is on board with this at this point. The confusion can happen though later when more cards are dropped and the card count is peculiarly and illogically 5... it becomes very hard at this point to work out what the state of play is from these two perspectives.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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Neal, I think that you are having a hard time following this from the spectator's point of view.

The fact that you understand the counts and know other versions of the effect may make things more confusing for you than for the average person.

Normally, if there is a serious problem with the audience following a routine, it will show up in their response. I didn't notice that in any of my performances, and no one else seems to have the same problem.

I do appreciate your comments, however. They have helped me to see the places where I need to clear up certain points. That is a big help, and I thank you.
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There are two people on stage , Whit Haydn and his Character.

I think most of the audience knows that Whit knows this trick inside out and controls it.

On the other hand, the character is what entertains them. He is dressed sharp and has this air about him and the first thing happens is it appears the stage hands have messed with his prop. He tries to maintin his dignity only to drop a card.

As a magician we are often too jaded to enjoy a magic act as we all know the 6 card trick or other moves. Sometimes I wished I had that innocence of a lay audience being entertained by a magic act.
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