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matrose9
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Hi everyone,
I haven't formally introduced myself to penny, and have been lurking around for a while, so I figured I probably should as this is the forum on the Café I will be using for the most part. My name is Mat and I've been studying mentalism for about 5 years, and performing for about 1 and 1/2-2 years now, mostly for family, friends and performing street mentalism. I got into restaurant work over this past year and have been dying to get on stage and perform. This past week I've been running around like a madman looking for venues and booked two for the end of November. In one of the venues they offer a free videographer so I hope to be sharing at least some of that performance on here. Honestly, I'm a bit nervous making the jump from close up to stage, and I know that I have a whole community behind me at the café, but I was just wondering if anyone who has been in this spot could offer some words of wisdom about making the plunge from close up mentalism to stage mentalism. I realize a lot of it is the same, just looking for some viewpoints more experienced than mine.

Thanks,
Mat
mastermindreader
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Hi Mat.

What do you mean by stage? To most professionals that means an actual stage show in a theater, with theatrical lighting, curtains, sound system, etc. If that's what you are planning, the advice I'd give you is a bit different than I would if you were working a banquet hall, a conference room, a lodge show, on a dance floor cabaret style, etc.

Close-up and stage aren't remotely the same when it comes to performing, even though the effects you present may be similar.

I ask because sometimes the word "stage" is used loosely. Just a while back we had someone asking about an upcoming "stage show" when, in fact, he was booked to do a large outdoor picnic to work banquet style in front of the tables.
christophe
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Close-up and stage are not the same at all.
kannon
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Rehearse plenty of times with and without people and ABOVE ALL rehearse and be conscious of your pen and anything you hand out at all times.

Invest the time into Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber
My work and the Mtangulizi here http://kannonsworks.weebly.com featuring work on drawing duplications, a fiddle-free billet tear, bar mentalism, pendulums
NeilS
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I too am in a similar position. Having presented so many shows in parlour settings, I have now been asked to give a stage presentation and which means I am a bit more removed from the audience. It is requiring a major rethink about what I do and effects I can include.

I don't know how I will get on, but I wish you well Mat.
Mindpro
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I've always thought and believed that mentalism is designed to be performed on stage. This is where it can be most effective and miracles and impact can happen for an entire audience rather than just one on one or for a small group of closeup people.

Stage mentalism can be emotional, strong and offer many elements that are greater than intimate settings.

I would be more nervous or concerned about performing closeup rather than stage. You have much more control, space and greater presentational possibilities on stage.

My advice is to make sure you perform what you are comfortable with but be sure you adapt it to stage, make it play larger, make sure everyone in the house is part (and can see and hear) of the experience. Use stagecraft to you advantage. Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber is required reading of you haven't already. Best of luck.
C.J.
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My top advice: Avoid "head and shoulders" acting.

That is, remember that on a stage, your whole body is on view and all of that body is communicating all the time. If you're going to move, do it purposely. If you don't need to move, stand strongly. Wandering about without thinking is a common fault amongst all kinds of actors and performers, but since mentalists have a whole section about it in their #1 textbook, they really should know better.
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saysold1
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Quote:
On 2013-10-23 08:00, C.J. wrote:
My top advice: Avoid "head and shoulders" acting.

That is, remember that on a stage, your whole body is on view and all of that body is communicating all the time. If you're going to move, do it purposely. If you don't need to move, stand strongly. Wandering about without thinking is a common fault amongst all kinds of actors and performers, but since mentalists have a whole section about it in their #1 textbook, they really should know better.


But doesn't Richard Osterlind give the opposite advice on his Penguin lecture?

Richard as I recall stated that he recommended (generally) walking about the stage, giving a bigger feel to the show similar to a rock show.

I am by no means the expert, just saying that perhaps best not to generalize... although you mention to walk with "purpose."
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mastermindreader
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Movement should always be purposeful. But standing their fidgeting and pacing isn't purposeful movement.

Still would be helpful to know exactly what type of venue the OP is referring to when he says "stage."
matrose9
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Mastermindreader: It's a theater venue, it seats about 120 and has a small bar attached to it. What I think sold them was they are in between shows during that time, I require no set work on their part, very minimal lighting and sound work. They are fairly certain they should sell out for it. Smile

kannon: Ill look into the book! thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for the well wishes everyone (it means the world) and for all of your imput on closeup vs. stage. Performance style has to be very different to a close up setting because you are playing for a larger audience.

Looking forward to more suggestions and imput and being able to share my work with everyone. Thanks for being a great community,

Mat
mastermindreader
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Apart from the stagecraft aspects, the first thing you need to do is find a time that you can get into the theater to do a full rehearsal complete with lights and sound.

When you get hit in the face with full-on theatrical lighting you won't be able to see anyone except maybe in the first few rows, and even they will be hard to see. DON'T make the common mistake of shielding your eyes, etc. Just don't look directly into the lights.

You should work out lighting cues with the crew so that they will know when you require that the house lights be brought up and whether they should be brought up full (not recommended) or "just enough."

Be aware of the way that participants will have to get on the stage. Stairs to the left, right, or middle.

Allow extra time for participants to come to the stage and return to their seats. Little things like this make no difference in close-up, but are serious considerations in stage work. A routine that takes about 6 minutes in an intimate setting may well take over 10 minutes on stage. Don't just stand there allowing "dead time" while people go back and forth, or pass things around, etc. EVERYTHING takes longer on stage, including the routines themselves. You need a lot more material for a half hour close-up set than you do for a thirty minute stage presentation. (On the other hand, you'll have to do a lot more talking on stage because of the "dead time" problem I mentioned.)

But again, a full out rehearsal is an absolute necessity. Preferably with a director friend in the audience.

If you'll be working with a microphone, that's a complete topic by itself. Hands free, hand mic or headset, mic stand, one mic or two (one for participants or assistant) - these are all issues you have to address.

Read all you can immediately, including Weber's Maximum entertainment.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2013-10-23 10:47, mastermindreader wrote:
Movement should always be purposeful. But standing their fidgeting and pacing isn't purposeful movement.



I couldn't agree more. I've been to numerous conventions, performances, etc. where the speaker paced like a caged tiger. It's stressful and distracting for the audience. A speaker or performer who plants firmly in one place until there is a good reason to move is much more pleasant to watch.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
matrose9
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Mastermindreader: I will have a lapel mic and there will be an accompanying mic stand with a mic for participants on stage. I have the entire theater at my disposal for 5 days before my performance, so it will be crunch time for rehearsal. I've scripted everything for dead time, but I will take your advice and script more just in case. The theater will have a spot with one person working it, and have house lights on a dimmer. I was a stage actor long before I got into mentalism, so I'm pretty familiar with stage presence and stage movement with purpose.

Magnus: I fully agree. It's distracting and really uncomfortable haha

Mat
Mindpro
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Excellent advice from Bob Cassidy. Mentalism is about control. Not just control of your effects and performance material but of the entire experience for you and your audience. Control of the venue and performance environment is essential. It may require some adapting of your performance, but the more you know about, are familiar with and can control these performance aspects, the better for the overall performance experience for everyone.
matrose9
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"Control, control. You must learn control!"-Master Yoda

Thanks Mindpro
mastermindreader
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Well if you had mentioned that you'd been a stage actor it would have helped. Your OP gave the impression that you've only done close-up and have never been on a stage before.

That said, I prefer using a hand-held mic, because it allows me to talk to participants "off mic" while escorting them to the stage, etc. I also get better volume control by being able to move it closer and further from my mouth. When I need both of my hands I either put the mic on the stand or put it under my arm, where it still picks up my voice just fine. (Just have to talk a bit louder.) Also, for effect, I will occasionally go completely off-mic and project my voice accordingly. It makes for an interesting contrast in certain situations.)

But that's just a matter of personal preference and style.
matrose9
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Very good point about the mic's. A lapel would expose a D*n*****r **** real quick Smile (not really my style anyway) I like the idea of contrast, I'll have to do some thinking about that.

Mat
mastermindreader
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Additionally, you can't really modulate your volume effectively with a lapel mic. I'll often speak very loudly at points in my act (mic held a away) and then, for contrast, or for a [isotto voce[/i] aside, will drop to a breathy whisper, bringing the mic almost in contact with my lips.

You just can't do that stuff with a lapel or fixed headset mic. (Unless you've got a sound man capable of keeping up with you, which of course would require you to follow a script verbatim. But since a lot of my interaction with an audience is situational and improvised, that's pretty much out of the question.)
matrose9
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Thanks Mr. Cassidy
Richard Osterlind
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Yes, one always has to move with a "purpose." What I have always said in my lectures is to "use the entire stage."

And, as Bob pointed out above, please do not forget other aspect of stagecraft, such as diversity. To do the same thing, all the time, is boring. To speak in the same tone, move with the same speed or do the same kind of effects over and over will quickly lose audience interest.

Getting back to the topic at hand, if you are standing still for a few minutes, then suddenly move with intent and deliberateness (either across the stage or into the audience), you will create attention. Surprise, not just with your magic, but with your demeanor, is a good thing.
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