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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Opening trick for a silent busking show (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Scodischarge
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Hi everybody! I'm currently working on a busking show that can be performed silently (meaning no talking, for various reasons), and I'm pretty satisfied with what I've got so far:


Chop Cup

Rope Through Neck

Miser's Dream (having the coins disappear at the end and passing the hat after)

Swallowing Needles/Razor Blades


I've got the framework for each of these tricks laid out and am currently working on getting the mechanics down. The trouble is, I can't think of a good opening routine. Apart from being suitable to draw some spectators without me saying a word, it has to pack extremely light (I'll be backpacking and can't allocate much space to magic props).
I'll be quite honest, I don't like having to ask for suggestions -- this feels like something I should be figuring out by myself. But since my research on this forum and in other places hasn't yielded many results, I feel compelled to. From what I've read, you guys are the people to ask.

Thanks for your help!
Cheers,
Alex

PS: If it's any help, here's what I'd planned originally: I'd wanted to do a short juggling act with rings to draw some attention and go into a linking ring routine with a spectator from there. I cut the routine because the rings are too large for my purpose.
Zauberman
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The rolled up sword that you can buy at most magic places works great.
Swallowing the sword is super visual (and can be funny)
I used it for a few years to attract my initial crowd and got huge mileage out of it Smile
imgic
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Anything that can be done up high. Movement and color can help. This will draw attention and help gather crowd.

Color changing silks. Or Fantasm silks. Lots of color and flash and not much space.

Multiplying billiard balls could also work. A 3 or 4 ring linking ring routine would work, plus it adds sound

Since you have rope, could do professors nightmare, or ring & rope.

Just a few thoughts
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Scodischarge
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Thank you both for your suggestions.
Zauberman - I've been thinking along similar lines. The trouble with swallowing [xy] is that it's similar to the needles/razor blades I'd wanted to do as a finale. I feel that doing a sword swallowing routine as an opener makes that finale weaker, no matter whether it's presented jokingly or seriously.

imgic - Movement and colour seem like a good formula. I'd originally intended to use linking rings for exactly the reason you named (sound), but cut them for their mass and volume. I'm hesitant to do another rope routine, because I'm afraid people will lose interest when I get out the rope for the second time ("Oh, I've seen that one already"). I'm not at all familiar with silks (yet), but they seem worth looking into. The billiard balls sound good, too (why haven't I thought of them?). I'd like to have some spectator(s) involved in the first trick; any idea on how to do that with billiard balls?

Thanks again to both of you!
Harry Murphy
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Using the old G. F. Hunter's "Puzzle Knot" and building a "do as I do routine" works wonders at drawing a crowd. Essentially you stop folks by handing then a short length of rope and have them tie a knot in the middle without letting go with the ends. A trick which you have demonstrated walking around your pitch until someone notices. You'll need about a half dozen or more lengths of rope to hand out. You get several people trying to tie the knot (and failing). You keep demonstrating it. You then have one person go through the set-up but not toss the rope. Instead you take the ends and the knot is tied!! Finally you have collected all the ropes and you instantly tie several knots on your length of rope.

This is standard rope fare. The multiple knots is the old coiling the rope on the hand stunt (I learned it in the Boy Scouts over 65 years ago). The bare bones of the Puzzle Knot routine can be found in an online eBook by Ken De Courcy titled "It's Knot Impossible" (an old Supreme Magic booklet) It can be had inexpensively from Lybrary.com.

The routine as I outlined has a lot of spectator involvement and a lot of activity for a person passing by to notice and wonder about, plenty laughter, movement, and even magical moments. Any rope or string can be used. 5 foot lengths are ideal.

Now to address your issue of already having a rope routine. You don't! You have a rope stunt. The rope through neck is a super magical effect BUT as a stand alone trick it goes nowhere. What precedes it and what follows?

I suggest the you build your edge/gather your crowd using the Hunter Impossible Knot as suggested and follow it with the rope through neck bit. That becomes a unified opening sequence (gather the crowd and do the act's first trick).

What comes next? You are ending on the Razor Blades. You'll really have to do a frantic paced Miser's Dream involving several segments of the crowd. The vanish at the end is a good touch.

Doing a silent act takes a good amount in acting (mime) to pull off. Not impossible but probably more important than the tricks/routines you have chosen. It is entirely possible. There are a number of Buskers that have traveled the world and not be fluent at any language than their own. I traveled much of Europe knowing English (primary language), a little Spanish (Could get by and had some memorize scripts for my routines) and enough French to get me arrested!

Good Luck
.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Scodischarge
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Harry - my apologies for taking so long to answer; thank you very much for your detailed response. Your expertise is greatly appreciated, and you describe an approach I hadn't yet given thought to. I'll admit I'm still quite skeptical of this part, though:
Quote:
A trick which you have demonstrated walking around your pitch until someone notices.

In my experience (as a "civilian", not a magician), when in public, people tend to ignore those they don't know -- the weirder and more obscure their actions, the more determinedly so. Are you certain this approach will work, even when done silently? (I'm asking this with an open mind; if you have experience with this specific approach, I will gladly bow to it.)

Quote:
Now to address your issue of already having a rope routine. You don't! You have a rope stunt.

In this case, I'm not worried about that. The routines have a very different "feel" to them, and the length of the rope(s) used make it clear that they are two distinct effects.

Quote:
The rope through neck is a super magical effect BUT as a stand alone trick it goes nowhere. What precedes it and what follows?

This sounds rhetorical, but I'll go ahead and answer. The reason being, the framework for the stunt is something that only yet exists in theory, and I would be very glad to have a more experienced magician weigh in. So, if you think it's crap and has zip chance of working well -- please go ahead and tell me.
Using chalk, I'll set the scene for a round of hangman and let audience members try to guess the word (something simple like "magic"; I'll spare you the details, but I believe I can make it pretty clear what is expected). By the end of it, there should be a nearly complete "hanged man" on the ground in front of me. I proceed to give the ends of my rope to two spectators and encourage them to a quick tug-of-war (no longer than a few seconds/half a minute). When this is done, I set the rope for the rope-through-neck; looking down at the drawing of the nearly-hanged-man, by this point most people should have realized what I'm about to do. I let the spectators pull on the rope again, and voilá.
Written down like this (I tried to keep it as brief as possible), the routine looks a little convoluted, but I hope you get an idea of what I want it to look like, anyway. As I mentioned, so far this is just theory, so any comments at all would be greatly appreciated.

Quote:
I suggest the you build your edge/gather your crowd using the Hunter Impossible Knot as suggested and follow it with the rope through neck bit. That becomes a unified opening sequence (gather the crowd and do the act's first trick).

How would you suggest I lead from Hunter's Knot into rope through neck? I'm having some trouble imagining a good sequence to do this, as they seem to me to be quite different effects.

Quote:
Doing a silent act takes a good amount in acting (mime) to pull off. Not impossible but probably more important than the tricks/routines you have chosen. It is entirely possible. There are a number of Buskers that have traveled the world and not be fluent at any language than their own. I traveled much of Europe knowing English (primary language), a little Spanish (Could get by and had some memorize scripts for my routines) and enough French to get me arrested!

I'm aware. I'll admit I don't have too much faith in my miming abilities, which is why I chose effects that require little in way of explaining.

Now you got me curious -- you can't just drop something like "enough to get me arrested" without telling the story behind it!


Again, thank you for your help!
imgic
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Also check out Kozmo’s Tales from the Street. He explains his coin routine opener which could be done silently.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
stevevoltz
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Not quite silent, but a Swiss warbler or a mouth squeaker can be great way to get attention and have playful interaction with passers-by as you work on stopping them and turning them into your audience. Looks like they're sometimes called "Wacky Whistles" these days. Here's a short video that gives you an idea of what you can do with them.
.
stevevoltz
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And now that I see that I'm reminded how good they can be. Maybe the best example of "pack small/play big" I know of. I gotta order me a dozen!
stevevoltz
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Hmmm . . . The video's giving me an "An error occurred. Please try again later." message in my post. If it contiues not to work, here's the url: https://youtu.be/kugr7xoWsgc?t=13
stevevoltz
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Just went shopping for some and they all seem overpriced ($30 for a dozen)(and they do wear out so you'll want at least a few each time you go out). Then I vaguely remembered that they're not that hard to make yourself but didn't remember how, but sure enough YouTube had the answer again. SUPER easy to make with a little craft foam, a cut up rubber glove,and about 5 minutes Here's one of the how to videos I came across:

(and in case the Youtube embed doesn't play, here's the URL: https://youtu.be/z2KkgxN8aHA
Scodischarge
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Steve, thanks for the suggestion! This whistle seems like a fantastic way to spice up the whole show, if done right.
charliemartin
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I remember a great street magician named Polaris who did a silent act. He would put on a mask and perform a silent act with help from the audience. He made money.
landmark
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2022, stevevoltz wrote:
Just went shopping for some and they all seem overpriced ($30 for a dozen)(and they do wear out so you'll want at least a few each time you go out). Then I vaguely remembered that they're not that hard to make yourself but didn't remember how, but sure enough YouTube had the answer again. SUPER easy to make with a little craft foam, a cut up rubber glove,and about 5 minutes Here's one of the how to videos I came across:

(and in case the Youtube embed doesn't play, here's the URL: https://youtu.be/z2KkgxN8aHA
noland
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Quote:
On Dec 6, 2021, Scodischarge wrote:
Hi everybody! I'm currently working on a busking show that can be performed silently (meaning no talking, for various reasons), and I'm pretty satisfied with what I've got so far:


Chop Cup

Rope Through Neck

Miser's Dream (having the coins disappear at the end and passing the hat after)

How about opening with the balloon swallow? It's very visual. Performing it while standing on a stool would attact even more attention.

Swallowing Needles/Razor Blades


I've got the framework for each of these tricks laid out and am currently working on getting the mechanics down. The trouble is, I can't think of a good opening routine. Apart from being suitable to draw some spectators without me saying a word, it has to pack extremely light (I'll be backpacking and can't allocate much space to magic props).
I'll be quite honest, I don't like having to ask for suggestions -- this feels like something I should be figuring out by myself. But since my research on this forum and in other places hasn't yielded many results, I feel compelled to. From what I've read, you guys are the people to ask.

Thanks for your help!
Cheers,
Alex

PS: If it's any help, here's what I'd planned originally: I'd wanted to do a short juggling act with rings to draw some attention and go into a linking ring routine with a spectator from there. I cut the routine because the rings are too large for my purpose.
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