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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Does anyone else think the first kiss plot is inappropriate? (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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bobaji
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I've been thinking about the first kiss plot and how it seems to have become quite popular, and has been for a while now.

I have never used it, and I always feel uncomfortable when I see it performed.

For me it seems invasive, it has the problem of perhaps putting a spectator in an awkward potion with who ever they are with. ( how would you feel if your wife or girl friend was on stage with her first kiss being revealed?)

I've never seen the spectator being used for this effect looking like they enjoy the premise.

And quite often it is a middle age man asking a younger girl the question. ( which in itself seems a little off kilter if you think about it.)

Granted there is extra info to reveal, via the so called duel reality aspect, but even taking that into account - there are properly countless other pieces of information that could be used to the same end.

Am I alone in having these concerns?

Its not a big deal to me - people can perform what they want, but I don't understand why this plot has become so popular and so widely replicated. My own sensibilities lead me to avoid it. I wonder what others think.
bobaji
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I just want to add I have seen a mentalist friend of mine perform this and I think they where the first person I saw do this and it worked well for them, ( it might have been original to them- the routine they use dit in was certainly original to them) I believe they taught it on a penguin lecture as well.

what I am am curious about is why it seems to have become so popular? or if other people share my discomfort with it?
Rhewin
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This and first crush seem especially popular with sneak thief routines. I agree that I’m uncomfortable using it as a premise. While I’m sure most people think it’s a harmless question, I can think of too many people I know that would be mortified in that situation. I’ve also noticed that during these performances, the volunteers seems more uncomfortable than normal.

There are performers who are fine playfully embarrassing their audience members, and everyone seems to have fun. I just don’t feel comfortable going that route myself.
bobaji
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Yes that's exactly my feeling. I think it can work for a few performers, but most of the people who I see perform it seem to be a bit blind to the actual comfort ( or discomfort) level. Personally I don't want to risk embarrassing anybody.
Mindpro
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While I can see your points I guess I feel more the opposite. First, I do think the premise is overused these days. But the reason I kind of liked it before being overexposed was because the first kiss or first girl/boyfriend is life memorable life event. It has very personal meaning,

It is also something that is very personable and that is likely not that commonly known among others, which makes it very impressive when someone (the mentalist) can produce or divine it. It is impressive to an audience and likely even the people with the participating subject. The same could be said one's first sexual experience, but I could that being seen as tacky or in poor taste.

A first kiss or BF/GF is fondly remembered and cherished by most, so I think it has the emotional connection which is ideal for mentalism or a mentalism premise.
bobaji
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Yes I can see that, it is a good plot. And I have seen several people do it really well. I hope I don't sound like I'm being down on it as a plot. I guess I seem to have noticed its being used more and more, and I'm kind curious why its become more popular.

I guess the appeal of it is as you say, it certainly is a good reveal, and defiantly has the vibe of revealing a deep secret to it.

Im not sure about the emotional connection though. I think its more personal than emotional, if that distinction makes sense.

( also I wish I could edit the title of this thread- "inappropriate" has a bit of a stronger meaning than I intended, but I couldn't think of a better word.)
Mark Timon
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Pet names are a good alternative.
rowdymagi5
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"It is also something that is very personable".....exactly why I would never do this, most people do not want to publicly share something that is very personal to them, especially among strangers.
ed wood
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On Sep 8, 2022, rowdymagi5 wrote:
"It is also something that is very personable".....exactly why I would never do this, most people do not want to publicly share something that is very personal to them, especially among strangers.


Then mentalism really isn't for you.
George Hunter
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When their significant other is present, many people are uncomfortable mentioning the name of someone they kissed earlier in their personal history. The significant other may not enjoy it either.

George
David Thiel
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Mentalism is, at its core, invasive. The premise is that the mentalist is going about the business of revealing thoughts, memories...sensations. The very thing that makes mentalism powerful and entertaining is that these thoughts, memories and sensations are traditionally private...and can be revealed by a third party.

Unless you want your performance to be sterile and uninteresting, the 'special sauce' of mentalism comes in the form of learning interesting things about other people -- even if they are complete strangers to the audience.

Of course this has the potential to be horrific. What keeps it from being so is the attitude and the intent of the performer. Is the volunteer respected? Are the things they disclose handled gently? Is it a memory ripped from their mind, or a sweet milestone moment shared?

There's also the consideration of what is more interesting for the audience to watch. Routines built around the reveal of a PIN number, for example, personally leave me bored to death. Why do I care about a stranger's PIN? But the circumstances of a person's first kiss? The number one thing on a stranger's bucket list? These things become instantly relevant to me because I TOO have had a first kiss...and I have certain things I want to do before I die. Much of mentalism really is about shared human experiences.

I've been doing a First Kiss routine for as long as I've been doing mentalism. It has the potential to be extremely powerful -- and becomes much more of a 'sharing' with the audience than a simple slate of information. It has sometimes been the highlight of my show.

Since you posed that question, I'd respectfully suggest that you think carefully about what effects and routines YOU feel comfortable doing. And if certain subjects feel uncomfortable to you, don't handle them.

David
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George Hunter
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David:

Thanks for your thoughtful reflection. "Invasions," of course, are experienced boy audiences in degrees. One reason why some of are mentalists but not bizarrists or psychics is because there are degrees of invasion that we have no desire to achieve.

So, to be specific, bucket list is just as is about as interesting as first kiss, but has less potential to be experienced as harmfully invasive. However, if it works for you and, in fact, triggers no inappropriate anxiety in anyone, great.

George
bobaji
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On Sep 8, 2022, David Thiel wrote:
Mentalism is, at its core, invasive. The premise is that the mentalist is going about the business of revealing thoughts, memories...sensations. The very thing that makes mentalism powerful and entertaining is that these thoughts, memories and sensations are traditionally private...and can be revealed by a third party.

Unless you want your performance to be sterile and uninteresting, the 'special sauce' of mentalism comes in the form of learning interesting things about other people -- even if they are complete strangers to the audience.

Of course this has the potential to be horrific. What keeps it from being so is the attitude and the intent of the performer. Is the volunteer respected? Are the things they disclose handled gently? Is it a memory ripped from their mind, or a sweet milestone moment shared?

There's also the consideration of what is more interesting for the audience to watch. Routines built around the reveal of a PIN number, for example, personally leave me bored to death. Why do I care about a stranger's PIN? But the circumstances of a person's first kiss? The number one thing on a stranger's bucket list? These things become instantly relevant to me because I TOO have had a first kiss...and I have certain things I want to do before I die. Much of mentalism really is about shared human experiences.

I've been doing a First Kiss routine for as long as I've been doing mentalism. It has the potential to be extremely powerful -- and becomes much more of a 'sharing' with the audience than a simple slate of information. It has sometimes been the highlight of my show.

Since you posed that question, I'd respectfully suggest that you think carefully about what effects and routines YOU feel comfortable doing. And if certain subjects feel uncomfortable to you, don't handle them.

David


David,
all very valid points, and thanks for sharing your perspective and experience with this.

I certainly wouldn't say people shouldn't use this plot. Like I say I have seen several people handle it well, and a few people handle it badly.

I think its a lot about sensitivity, and your right - we should thin about what we are comfortable doing. Its becasue I do think about these things, that I raise this question - becasue I think the plot these days has become something of a "Standard" plot and maybe not everyone gives it the consideration something like this deserves.

I have a 30 year history as a performer and performance teacher and theatre director. I don't believe any plot is more interesting or gripping than any other. A PIN number reveal can be made gripping in the right hands - Andy Nyman would make such a thing into a show piece no doubt, especially wiht his rather occasionally cheeky but edgy character.

On the other hand the first kiss plot can be equaly dull.

Its also highly specific - and I can see that that is "juicy" and might be interesting to an audience, but I can also see that perhaps some audience members might find it invasive and therefore become uncomfortable. I know it nearly always makes me personally feel uncomfortable when I see it performed.

These day I avoid almost all personal information in my mentalism act, and this is a big change sinceI have had a long break. recently I have been working on new materiel and re - thought what I want to do and what I am actually comfortable with. The one thing I do use is the names of friends and favourite pleasant memories. These are good for me , play strong and leave the audience member with the choice and freedom of what they want to reveal. that's important to me. And what they choose is also going to be more interesting and perhaps more revealing than something I might restrict them to reveal. and perhaps leaves the door open to more playfulness along the way.
I very much play what I think of as strong but light mentalism. And the sis my conscious choice these days. So far I havnt found it dimities my performances at all. Personally think the greatest mentalism of all time was canasta - and he had a very limited repotoire - literally cards and a book test on the whole - and was never boring. ( except to other magicians/mentalists who largely resented how much he achieved with such simple methods!)

In a q and a act I pretty much follow the information route - Ala dunning/kreskin/osterlind. - Again in these routines allow the audience to choose the information they want to share.
Pete Legend
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Ah lads, I've being doing first kiss for two decades in every conceivable venue. It's craic, filled with a hint of mischief. Come on now, if anyone got offended by revealing a first kiss they would get a gentle slagging and then moved along pronto. My first kiss pushes boundaries a little but it doesn't even need to do that. I don't gig a whole pile anymore but did a gig after lockdown (first performance in an absolute age) and I did my old reliable first kiss piece. I was beyond rusty but the premise is completely relatable and people just buy into it. I'm talking from real world, in the trenches, pubs, theatres, corporate, international, radio shows and never once has anyone ever got offended or deemed it inappropriate. Doesn't happen. Who the !@#$ wants to sit through a performance where the ginger medium/mentalist/psychic reveals random numbers, locations or other non relatable nonsense.

I actually have the video of the performance mentioned above, I'd love to share it, show how it can be done but probably half my lines would be stolen and butchered by some inept gimps, that can't think for themselves.

Cheers!

P.S. Botaji, I don't really agree with what you are saying but I respect your opinion nonetheless. It's clear you've given it lots of thought which puts you head and shoulders above the majority. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, genuinely appreciate it.
Rhewin
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Quote:
On Sep 9, 2022, Pete Legend wrote:
Ah lads, I've being doing first kiss for two decades in every conceivable venue. It's craic, filled with a hint of mischief. Come on now, if anyone got offended by revealing a first kiss they would get a gentle slagging and then moved along pronto. My first kiss pushes boundaries a little but it doesn't even need to do that. I don't gig a whole pile anymore but did a gig after lockdown (first performance in an absolute age) and I did my old reliable first kiss piece. I was beyond rusty but the premise is completely relatable and people just buy into it. I'm talking from real world, in the trenches, pubs, theatres, corporate, international, radio shows and never once has anyone ever got offended or deemed it inappropriate. Doesn't happen. Who the !@#$ wants to sit through a performance where the ginger medium/mentalist/psychic reveals random numbers, locations or other non relatable nonsense.

I actually have the video of the performance mentioned above, I'd love to share it, show how it can be done but probably half my lines would be stolen and butchered by some inept gimps, that can't think for themselves.

Cheers!

P.S. Botaji, I don't really agree with what you are saying but I respect your opinion nonetheless. It's clear you've given it lots of thought which puts you head and shoulders above the majority. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, genuinely appreciate it.


There's a difference between offending someone and making someone uncomfortable. I'd be shocked if someone was genuinely offended by such a routine, but not that someone could be uncomfortable. For most people a first kiss is something that's a cute part of growing up. Some people, though, don't like sharing something that intimate in front of a group of strangers. I, for one, really don't like sharing my romantic life with anyone but the person I'm with. I've been put on the spot about a first crush on stage in front of strangers. I was a good sport about it, but internally I was not having a great time.

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I know that there's no way I'm the only one. I'm happy to leave these effects to the people who enjoy performing them.
Pete Legend
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Some people may be uncomfortable revealing their shoe size, others their favourite snack, bunch of people potentially could be uncomfortable when taking the stage and being the centre of attention. I mean literally anything could make anyone potentially awkward at any given time. What if we unknowingly use a trigger word that could make our volunteer anxious, what if we pick a person who has severe social anxiety, maybe the very act of mindreading is making a section of the audience uncomfortable. At the end of the day it's performance art, there needs to be some sort of expression. Self expression in our medium of entertainment involves some sort of interaction, to give a piece of yourself, to deliver something unique of yourself. I would hate to impose huge restrictions on myself, make everything completely safe, take out anything that could make anyone potentially uncomfortable, which literally could be a million things. Then what is left?

I hate watching mindreading shows as it is. Even the majority of the current "greats" I find beyond tedious. Same old hack lines, dull tired plots. If you stripped away the "Da Da" moment at the end then there would be literally nothing of any value in their entire act. Nothing that made the audience reflect, nothing that resonates, devoid of any real emotion or any sort of original well crafted humour. If these are the "greats" then can you imagine the average, bog standard performer who wants to be like them? Imagine getting tickets, paying a babysitter, travelling to a show and enduring that ****? Personally I think that would make a bigger percentage of the audience uncomfortable than revealing a first kiss. Happens way too often and now imagine if these same type of performers further hamstrung themselves by removing anything that could make anyone potentially uncomfortable? If I were in the audience I would never return to a mindreading show ever again.

At the end of the day, any performer who is anywhere near decent ability can deliver lines, introduce thought provoking ideas, challenge an audience and yes potentially make them feel uncomfortable too. If you are coming from a decent place and competent in showing the audience your world then they will travel with you. We must give something of ourselves and actually commit. We must be braver. We should all be thinking of further ways to challenge our audience but instead some want to place more and more restrictions on themselves. I think it's a shame but as always, each to their own.
Adam Meier
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I have done this for many years but has modified the plot after a bad experience.

I had a woman in her forties on stage and I asked her to think about her first kiss, and who it was. She suddenly froze, and after just a few seconds she left the stage. An awkward moment, and I didn`t know why she left without saying a word. After a couple of days I got an e-mail from her and she explained she was abused when she was a child, and all came back to her when I mention her first kiss on stage.

This was something I learnt from, and now I still use the plot but I give more options. I can for example say I want you to think of a person who has ment something special for you. But it has to be a living person, and not someone who has passed away. For example a person you had "secretly" feelings for when you were young, your first kiss or maybe a very close friend from your childhood.

They will probably think of their close friend but for me that is fine. My point for the audience perspective is that it is easier to find out the name when the have a personal connection to the person then thinking of a random name.
George Hunter
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Audiences, like the population we draw them from, change in the meanings they may attach to symbols. To be specific, I am told that a reference to "first base" may suggest or connote "fourth base." Really wanna go there?

George
Pete Legend
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I'm Irish, haven't a clue what specific bases mean though I suppose I could hazard a guess. Anyways, to answer your question George, honestly it wouldn't bother me one little bit. I ask someone to think of their first "shift" which clearly means their first kiss here in Ireland. If it's a foreign person I break down what "shift" means and then drive it on. I'm not sure how this could be misconstrued by anyone. I must have done this thousands of times and not once has anyone not got what I meant. Like I mentioned above though, wouldn't matter to me either way but for my specific routining first kiss is probably best.

Cheers!
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Quote:
On Sep 8, 2022, David Thiel wrote:
Mentalism is, at its core, invasive. The premise is that the mentalist is going about the business of revealing thoughts, memories...sensations. The very thing that makes mentalism powerful and entertaining is that these thoughts, memories and sensations are traditionally private...and can be revealed by a third party.

Unless you want your performance to be sterile and uninteresting, the 'special sauce' of mentalism comes in the form of learning interesting things about other people -- even if they are complete strangers to the audience.

Of course this has the potential to be horrific. What keeps it from being so is the attitude and the intent of the performer. Is the volunteer respected? Are the things they disclose handled gently? Is it a memory ripped from their mind, or a sweet milestone moment shared?

There's also the consideration of what is more interesting for the audience to watch. Routines built around the reveal of a PIN number, for example, personally leave me bored to death. Why do I care about a stranger's PIN? But the circumstances of a person's first kiss? The number one thing on a stranger's bucket list? These things become instantly relevant to me because I TOO have had a first kiss...and I have certain things I want to do before I die. Much of mentalism really is about shared human experiences.

I've been doing a First Kiss routine for as long as I've been doing mentalism. It has the potential to be extremely powerful -- and becomes much more of a 'sharing' with the audience than a simple slate of information. It has sometimes been the highlight of my show.

Since you posed that question, I'd respectfully suggest that you think carefully about what effects and routines YOU feel comfortable doing. And if certain subjects feel uncomfortable to you, don't handle them.

David


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