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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Spirit Cabinet With Audience Assistants (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Illusion77
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I'm researching the Spirit Cabinet would love to hear about people's experiences with this effect using the 4 sided cloth that is lifted, and especially using audience members to lift and lower the cloth (rather than a pre-standing metal curtain enclosure). I'd also love to know more about Andre Kole or Paul Daniel's versions of the effect, if anyone saw this presented in their touring shows. Thanks!
Mike Thornton
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I have seen Andre Kole present this on a number of occasions. It plays very well and is a very practical method as opposed to nailing the cloth to the boards in a larger cabinet. However, if I had the opportunity to perform this I would love to do Willard's Spirt Cabinet. I just saw Frances and David Charvet perform this at Magic Live, both did an incredible job.
thomasR
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I saw Andre Kole perform it live I think twice. In his show it was played as a smaller piece, I think it was done in front of the curtain. I can't remember if he had audience members raise and lower the curtain or it was his assistants. It was pretty standard... The rope ties, things flying in and out of the curtain, I can't remember if he did the coat or not but the end was inviting an audience member inside and rolling up his pant legs and putting a funny hat on him or something like that.

I would like to do a spirit cabinet routine one day and have thought about ways to do it with no assistants. Would take ALOT of talent in clearly instructing the volunteers. I think it would be better to do a free standing curtained cabinet and then you only have to instruct someone to move front curtain back and forth quicky.

The suit jacket escape (available through bill abbott) is basically a spirit cabinet routine that uses audience members to raise and lower the curtain.
thomasR
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The more I've thought about this, the more I think the best solution for a serious Spirit Cabinet Performance with no assistants is to have a free-standing metal frame with curtains and have a front curtain that moves across. Meet with 1 person from the audience / theatre and practice the trick with this person. This person doesn't need to know how the trick is done, but needs to clearly understand how quickly to open and close the curtain, when the open and close, how to place the coat on the frame, etc.

This person can be in the show as an MC or another performer, or it could be a stage-hand from the theater, or even an audience member that is brought backstage early to rehearse their part. - Additional audience members can of course be brought directly onstage to verify that nothing enters / leaves the cabinet. And 1 can be brought into the cabinet to put the funny hat on etc. as is in the traditional routine.

I think trying to perform the trick properly, create the proper drama for a serious presentation, and directing audience members how and when to lift and lower the curtain Paul Daniels style would be quite difficult and could quickly turn into a disaster if the wrong audience members were picked.
Terry Holley
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I assisted Andre' Kole onstage at times with this effect from 1987-1996. It's been over 20 years since I worked with this, so chronology of the steps in the effect may be a bit off, but overall this is what took place.

The routine was performed by Andre' and two of his assistants, along with two male spectators who were invited up on stage (no confederates). We attempted to get one who wore a sport coat or we had someone from the audience lend theirs. If there was none, we had to use one that we carried with us. The spectators would tie Andre's hands to his sides with a rope that went around his neck and back. He would then sit down on a chair and the spectators would tie each ankle to the chair legs with a piece of rope .

Andre's chair sat within a ring of cloth (two hoops on each end of a fabric tube-like structure, making a fully surrounded curtain) that was on the floor. The spectators were given chairs to sit on outside of the ring. A tray was brought out with a bucket on it. Inside the bucket were aluminum pie plates and a bell, and the tray was placed in front of Andre'.

The two assistants would lift the curtain and the plates would then fly out from inside the curtain along with the bell and the tray. When the curtain was lowered, Andre's was still tied up and the spectators were asked to check the knots.

The next phase included the sport coat which was laid on Andre's lap. The curtain was raised and when lowered Andre' was wearing the coat while still all tied up. The curtain was raised again and the coat flew out to the floor.

The final phase was inviting one of the spectators to bring his chair into the curtain ring and to sit next to Andre'. This always elicited a lot of laughs. The spectator was blindfolded. The curtain went up. Shoes came flying out, a shot was heard, and the curtain was lowered, revealing the spectator with his pants rolled up to his knees and the bucket over his head.

When order resumed, the knots were once again examined and then cut to free Andre'. The spectators were thanked, given applause and walked back to their seats.

I loved assisting with this routine. I felt that this was one of the effects that Andre' should perform at every show. The on-stage spectator's reactions were priceless and the audience always laughed and applauded throughout and at the end.

I'm happy that I came across this thread and could contribute, as it brought back wonderful memories of assisting a great illusionist and a great friend.
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
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