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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Boxes, tubes & bags » » My Parlour Show (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

SpringBizkit
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Hey there!

So I'm thinking of doing a parlour show. I have 16 years of close-up strolling and performing experience, however it's been very limited to cards and some coins.

So my questions to you.

1. Where do you start first? time limit, theme, effects, music.. etc.
2. What effects would you recommend I check out? Something that you have found to be great for audiences during your parlour shows.

also, the show will be 30 minutes, 10 minute break, then 30 minutes again. Magic first, mental magic after the break.

Thanks in advance! Would appreciate any help on the matter Smile

S.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
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Your 1st task is to have an act, that means you have the magic already, and just have to put it the order that follows good stand-up stage magic rules. So you have to find magic that you like, unless you know you can do it all with a deck of playing cards an a few coins.

Get the book Showmanship for Magicians by Dariel Fitzkee, Magic and showmanship by Henning Nelms, and Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber, Director's Notes for Magicians and Mentalists.

No one can suggest magic effects to you that they know you will like. You have to search and find magic that you like and can be commented to presenting to the best of your ability. You just have to read all the magazines, search magic websites and be on the look out for effects that you may like. Then research if they are good effects. You could start by getting the free magazine "Vanish" to get you started. There you will find effects, articles and reviews. I is downloadable for you can read it on your devices.

The title Parlour show has changed in the last few years. Now it means you come to a person's house, with a table and chairs, and present a close-up show in their home. I use to be a stand-up show showing stage magic effects that will fit in that kind of setting. No close-up magic unless you can make it look big. Which, you may have accomplished already performing on the street.

So you are going to bill yourself as a magician and mentalist both, instead of having variety in a complete one hour show. I don't know if that will work, but it may be time to try a new approach.

Are you refusing to perform for children, that is okay, but it will limit who hires you. So you have to but together a good target marketing approach.

I would suggest you visit some magic shops, but today, there are very few, and most do not even know what they are selling, because of the constant influx of magic every month. No human can keep up with amount of new products these days.

Don't know what country you are from as well, culture dictates what is acceptable and what is not, what is good and what is not so good.

I wish you well in your new adventure. Go for it.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
thomasR
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Pop Haydn and Bill Abbott will give you all the material you will ever need. For a price! Ha.

Jim Steinmeyers book - Conjuring Anthology and Gene Anderson’s the Book are also excellent resources for parlor work.

Oh and Tom Stones books.

Yeah.... stick with Haydn and Abbott routines... otherwise you’ll go broke! Ha
SpringBizkit
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Hey Bill,

Thanks a lot for the reply.

So real quick. I've been doing close-up for about 16 years. I have had residencies in numerous places and I am currently being asked to perform for a hotel. They're looking to put together a small theatre style show of an hour. Guests will be all ages. They will be doing the marketing and bringing in customers.
I have done 1 hour shows at houses for private dinners before, however I feel that this may be 'bigger' as it is for a 3 month run.

I have too many card tricks, but have branched out a bit here n' there; However I always just listed a bunch of usable tricks for that size of audience, and then decided which ones would go in what order. However, is this what other people do as well? Do people maybe think of a 'theme' first and then go into their list to select tricks that fit according to the theme instead?

I was looking for what tricks worked for other people so that Maybe I can go look it up, see what it looked like, and if I found it interesting, purchase it and make it my own style. It's hard for me to go to a magic shop, I live in south east Asia, not to go into specifics, and there aren't any around me that cater to professionals. Just small shops with little props for starting magic.

Thanks for the suggestion on VANISH. I visit their site so often, yet I hadn't realized that they had a magazine. Getting them asap!

ThomasR,
Thanks very much, I'll get to looking into them. They're funding the entire thing after watching me perform, however I also want to find good variety and make it the best show I possibly can Smile
Will check out Haydn and Abbott. Just trying to find nice things for 40 people Smile
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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SpringBizkit, Look up Nick Lewin and Jeff Hobson, as well, they has some great parlour show effects.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dick Oslund
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When I started touring in the school assembly field, it was necessary to produce a 45 minute program (occasionally, I had to do an hour) that could entertain almost anyone, almost anywhere! I did elementary schools, High schools, Senior citizen homes, family audiences, etc. In the off season, I would do club dates.

I think you are doing a wise thing. (PLANNING!!!)

Since there are no "real" magic shops in your area, you would be wise to consider using generic props, like rope, silks, cards, coins, etc. I've done that for 50 years and have never been "at liberty"! Managers, and agents would call ME!

I wrote a book about my life on the road, and, wrote up the tricks and routines that I used. It's selling in Asia. Australia, Europe. Canada. and, the USA.

If this sounds interesting, feel free to PM me.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
danaruns
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I have a philosophy that's different from most.

I feel that for an hour long show for hotel guests, you need to make it more than a collection of tricks, you need something to tie it all together. This is a show they are coming to specifically to see magic; they are not just happening to see magic at a party, or in a restaurant, or on a street. The magic isn't just a momentary distraction. This is a destination show.

Such a show needs a theme, a story, a character. Something that makes it a memorable experience that the audience "understands" at the end. People are used to plots in their entertainment that long. It needs a premise, a conflict, a climax, and a resolution. We are a TV and movie world, these days. If you're entertaining for an hour in a show where they specifically come to see you, you need to take your audience on a journey. You need to give them a story to tell when they get home.

And it needs to be strong enough to bring them back after the 10-minute break. At the break, you need a cliffhanger. You need a reason for them to come back. You don't want them saying, "Well, that was nice. How about we go grab a drink now?" at intermission. Personally, I wouldn't want a break.

Putting together such a show is more about what you leave out than what you put in. The only material you use is material that advances the "plot." Of course, "plot" isn't strictly necessary. Theme. Setting. Callbacks. It can be as simple as "there was once a riverboat gambler who met his match." Or it can be as ethereal as "the science of perception and reality reveals why magic works." It can be autobiographical. It can be all about character and backstory. But in each case, the magic is woven into a single whole that takes people on a journey from point A to point B, not just a demonstration of magic tricks. Every trick has to have its own plot that fits the larger show plot, and every trick needs an approach and a script that takes the audience one more step along the journey.

This kind of show is meaty. It's substance. It's like a gourmet meal. At its very best, this kind of show looks like Derek DelGaudio's "In And Of Itself," which moves people and they remember it for the rest of their lives. Such a show makes the hotel look good. It has people telling stories about it for days, or months, or years. People come out of it thinking highly of the hotel, of you, and of magic itself. It raises your profile and boosts your reputation.

Or, you could just do a bunch of tricks.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
danaruns
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Also, remember that this kind of show gives you options. You control the environment, which gives you the opportunity to create material that takes advantage of your control over the environment. You can tape something to the bottom of the seat in row C-12. You might know ahead of time the identity of the person who sits in that seat. I once supplied my own audience chair in which I hid a prop, and in the trick I used the person in that chair as a volunteer and ended up dramatically cutting into the chair with a knife to reveal the vanished prop. (Of course, I had to re-cover the chair after each performance, but that took about 10 minutes and cost me about a dollar each time.) There are a million opportunities when you control aspects of the venue. Look for those and be creative.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
SpringBizkit
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Danaruns,

Thanks very much for the input!

Yes, I'm definitely thinking about all these as much as I possibly can!
I'm a bit stuck on plot and theme. I don't usually just do random effects, but I do want a story that connects to a whole. Right now the backstory is about myself and how I've become a magician and challenges or stories in my life. Effects like "Vernon's finger print card trick" May seem simple, but it's fun, and it can connect with me cause, according to my story (true story) I wanted to be a detective when I was younger, and I loved science.. which should perfectly put me as a Forensics Analyst.. however, I'm not. So I have a trick that makes me feel like I'm solving a crime with fingerprints. Ofcourse the effect fails, I say this is why I decided to be a magician instead, snap my finger and change the 'wrong' card.
Also looking at performing "the first trick I ever saw as a child"

I'm currently going through my timeline and putting in callbacks, as well as a trick that goes through the entire show, bit by bit. So it should reveal at the end and bring together the major parts of the show.

So I'm looking at stuff like that, but hiding items under the chair etc totally skipped my mind!

It's tough coming up with the plot/theme to be honest. However making it all about me seems.. weird haha. May need a better theme and plot.

Might have to rethink more and more!

Wish I could've seen Derek Delgaudio's show! I hear it's amazing!

Thanks a lot! Smile
Pop Haydn
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Don't worry about all that if you are just getting started. Get good stage routines that are already worked out and scripted. Put together a half an hour of strong magic. Pay attention to which trick should be the opener, and which the closer. Get used to performing for a larger crowd. Close-up magic helps develop intimacy in performance, doing stand up helps you learn to project and be bigger and more exciting in your close up. Once you have a decent show that can hold the audience, then you might want to start working on character and backstory. Don't burden yourself in the beginning with overthinking. Become comfortable doing that size magic. Let it help you develop a performing version of yourself. Try to let yourself be enlarged by letting your words be louder and more expressive. It is important to grow one step at a time. It is easy to be overwhelmed by listening to too many people and trying to accomplish too much at once. You are experienced as a close up magician. Learning stage will be a similar process.
Dick Oslund
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Pop Haydn and I have never met, but, we both have been professional performers most of our lives. I thoroughly agree with what he just wrote.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
SpringBizkit
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WoW!

Thanks so much guys! Thanks for joining us Pop Haydn!

I will try not to over think things and take it one step at a time! I'll focus on the 30 minutes at a time first and see how it goes Smile

Thanks again!
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Aug 3, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
When I started touring in the school assembly field, it was necessary to produce a 45 minute program (occasionally, I had to do an hour) that could entertain almost anyone, almost anywhere! I did elementary schools, High schools, Senior citizen homes, family audiences, etc. In the off season, I would do club dates.

I think you are doing a wise thing. (PLANNING!!!)

Since there are no "real" magic shops in your area, you would be wise to consider using generic props, like rope, silks, cards, coins, etc. I've done that for 50 years and have never been "at liberty"! Managers, and agents would call ME!

I wrote a book about my life on the road, and, wrote up the tricks and routines that I used. It's selling in Asia. Australia, Europe. Canada. and, the USA.

If this sounds interesting, feel free to PM me.


He never bothered to PM me.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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