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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Thoughts on how to open (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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thebear
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I like safe fire openers. No banter just music
Al Schneider
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After some time has passed I have remembered something about opening. Some time ago I was visiting Jay Marshall at Magic Inc. Al Koran was there and told the following story. He said he had a gig at some theater in England. Part of the contract was to perform at a nearby prison for the inmates. The point of interest of this story was that the inmates had rioted, gotten violent, and a guard had been hit in the head an severely hurt if not killed. The acts from that theater knew of this and were terrified to even enter the prison. Al talked of going to the prison not knowing what was going to happen. The day came when they had to perform. The act before him grabbed some kind of prop, entered the stage, said something, and exited the stage. He fulfilled his contract. Mr. Koran said he did not know what to do. A set of rings were handy. He grabbed them and walked out on stage and did his routine. The result was amazing. The inmates immediately settled down as he began the routine. By the end of the routine, the inmates applauded strongly.

Since then I have always opened with the rings. It works amazingly well. It always captures the hardest of audiences and opens the door for the remainder of the show.

I know it is an old trick. However, it runs on for a minute or so and magic is continuously happening. During my routine the rings seem to misbehave and I have trouble controlling them. And, it goes great for kids
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
magicfish
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Awesome, Al. Thanks for sharing this here. I always love reading your posts and sincerely hope you continue to share your thoughts and experience here.
tommy
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Prisoners are not hard audiences, quite contrary. The essential thing about prison is that it is boring, it is the same routine day in and out and any break in that, any entertainer, is much appreciated and welcome. The thing about entertainments is that they are a form of escape.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
The Hermit
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I have to agree with tommy. As a kid, 15 or so, I did magic at the local Penal Farm. My partner and I did a 45 minutes show and got ton's of applause. After the show, many of the guys sat and talked with us over lunch. Two of them got us to show them some card tricks that they could learn. One even showed us his cell and gave us a lecture on why we needed to stay out of there. It wan't a max security place and we never felt threatened. One guy I talked with was in for armed robbery. I think that was as hardcore as they got. Still a great memory. Doubt if that stuff happens today.
Dick Oslund
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Regarding prisons,reform schools, asylums for the criminally insane and teenage drug "rehab" institutions, and "alternative" high schools....

Yes! I've worked them all. (School assembly bureaus in later years, booked all of the above.) I remember my first booking in a state penitentiary. Hardened criminals! For reasons noted above, I found them relatively easy to perform for.

I was booked in a teen age "hard time" prison. These kids didn't just steal hub caps! They had committed crimes like murdering their parents!

They were marched in, escorted by guards carrying "billy clubs". The stage curtain was closed. I heard noises that told me a fight had broken out. I peeked around the curtain. Guards rushed in. The disturbance was quelled in less than a minute.

Naturally, I was concerned. The Chaplain introduced me. I opened the curtain, entered, and started the show. For the first few minutes, they were quietly watching. Then, the laughs started coming, in just the right places. They weren't a standing ovation group, but, they were a good audience.
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The Hermit
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I suggest starting with a handcuff bit. It's very relatable.
The Hermit
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Quote:
On Oct 9, 2017, danaruns wrote:
I like to open with a long rant on politics and religion. Naked. Smile


So, you're into propless huh?
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