We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Little Help? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3 [Next]
Roslyn
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
3404 Posts

Profile of Roslyn
The answer to you question about whether or not to be chained up whilst in the barrel all depends on the type of performance you are going to give.

For example, I am (as you may have gathered from a previous thread) working on a hanging escape. Now since people who were to be hung had their hands bound I too will be having my hands bound. I won't be using handcuffs, heavy chain, straitjackets etc etc, just a piece of leather strap. Where as if I were to escape from a wooden barrel I'd refer to it as a way that pirates would torture others (by sticking them into an old rum barrel and nailing the top shut). Would you need other restraints for this? Probably not, but a couple of huge, muscle bound guys stuffing you in may add the visual element that you require.
Plus, if you have already escaped from handcuffs earlier in your show the audience already knows that you can get out of cuffs. Why show them the same trick twice?

Just a few thoughts, hope it helps.

Ros
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
My home online
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
"... but a couple of huge, muscle bound guys stuffing you in may add the visual element that you require."

If it were a one-act play about piracy, I would agree.

If it is an ESCAPE being played for realistic effect, however, I suggest simply having an unobtrusive assistant serving as a guide and safety spotter, and having spectators doing all the locking up and related dirtywork.
Making your assistant seem almost invisible and 'hands-off' reduces thoughts of assistant-collusion, and having volunteers do all the fastening adds to the sense of legitimacy (essential to a convincing escape).
Also, hiring two 'muscleman' assistants may be expensive, compared to one "Joe Doakes" assistant.


"Plus, if you have already escaped from handcuffs earlier in your show the audience already knows that you can get out of cuffs. Why show them the same trick twice?"

Point made but, then again, why not? The cuffs/chains add an extra impediment, and a psychological 'addition' to an escape that could go 'disasterously wrong.'
Houdini, Hardeen and Murray all did this sort of thing. They didn't do too badly at impressing their audiences.

Did I go into the drum cuffed? Yes I did.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Roslyn
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
3404 Posts

Profile of Roslyn
"Houdini, Hardeen and Murray all did this sort of thing. They didn't do too badly at impressing their audiences."

I agree that Houdini et al did manage to impress there audiences. But I am not Houdini and neither is anyone here. Why would I therefore want to perform in the style of Houdini? Why not try to create a unique style that fits me. At least that way my audience will appreciate me for being me rather than yet another imitator.

"If it were a one-act play about piracy, I would agree."

You are looking at this all wrong. You can still present the barrel escape as a 'realistic' escape by giving it a story. In my example I suggest the story of pirates. I use this because they are famous for drinking rum and therefore would have empty rum barrels. They are famous for torturing people, and it would be a logical step to take if they used what they had on board. Now to present this "historical" escape I suggested making it more dramatic and visual by having muscle bound guys on stage. You could still use members from the audience to help, but you don't have to have auience members on stage ALL the time. Does Copperfield have audience members on stage for all his illusions? Do close-up workers allow their cards to be examined before every trick? No they don't. Why? Because they are over proving the point. And you also have to ask yourself why the audience is there. My opinion is that they want to SEE a show, not be PART of the show. Audience participation is a good thing, but in small amounts. It can be over done like anything else.

Going back to the point about adding drama, why do many EA's have a problem with adding a slice of theatre to a performance? After all isn't it the performance ART that makes an Escapist an Escape ARTIST?

If you can't afford to get certain things for the show, then don't use them. You may want 2 large guys on stage, but can't afford to hire them. Well, just have a look at your audience. I'm sure you'll find 2 large fellas complete with the standard skin head and tatoos. Get them out of the crowd and have them put on an eye patch and play the part of the pirates.

Finally, I don't have a problem with combining escapes. I use HSS9's in my max security escape. But it would make that escape seem less impressive if I'd escaped from cuffs before it and after it. After all if I can get out of the "worst set of cuffs in the world" of course I can get out of any other cuff on the planet, therefore if I did decide to use cuffs in an under water escape I'd have to use the HSS9's because anything else would be "easy". But then if I'm prepared to use these cuffs underwater surely they can't be that difficult after all?

A point my girlfriend (who doesn't do escapes at all) just made is that if you can pick a lock on a pair of cuffs, then isn't that the same as picking a padlock or any other lock? An interesting point I thought.

Roslyn
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
My home online
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter
The Donster
View Profile
Inner circle
4817 Posts

Profile of The Donster
The Idea for the Rum/Pirate Idea is very good and creative. one could also say the Barrel used to House a Bunch of Complaining Grapes and they were put in there because they Whine ( wine ) a Lot. the people that come to a show want to be entertained etc. wherever the show is being held. not evreyone has the Money some of the higher paid performers do. plus it is fun when one asks ?'s about where they are from etc. there are a Lot of Ideas for Doing Escapes. the main thing is to come up with the idea and put it into Gear and be sure one can pull it off. as for picking the lock on a handcuff padlock Etc. all locks Vary one might be easier then the other just because one can pick one open. does not mean that they can pick evreything open. but does one want your Audience to know your Picking your way out etc. Don,
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
Here's why:

To be successful in its fullest sense, an escape must look REAL and constitute a CHALLENGE.
Granted, the old challenge act is impractical anymore, but the SENSE of CHALLENGE must still be achieved.

To achieve this, the props must appear LEGITIMATE, and the entire peformance ABOVE BOARD by audience participation. If spectators fasten everything, THEY know it's 'legit,' and the rest of the audience is convinced THROUGH THEM.

Escapes should NOT look like a one-act play, choreographed to the last move; they should look as spontaneous and uncontrolled as possible, to make the proceedings seem REAL.

An escape presented like a one-act-play is not an ESCAPE; it is an ESCAPE ILLUSION, a whole different animal (and to me, far less convincing).

You do what you want, but I'm sticking with the escape philosophy I have been using effectively for 34 years.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
The Donster
View Profile
Inner circle
4817 Posts

Profile of The Donster
Dr Stephen I agree. use something normal and convincing the one thing is to make it beleiveable as Possible. Don,
Roslyn
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
3404 Posts

Profile of Roslyn
I'm not disputing the fact that an escape has to look real. What I am saying is that there is no reason that you can't add theatre to an escape to make it appeal to a wider crowd. Or to add more drama and suspense to the routine. When I perform I go out in front of the crowd looking more like someone from a rock band than a magician. I don't refer to myself as a magician. I DO NOT perform ESCAPE MAGIC. I perform ESCAPE ARTISTRY. Because I am an ESCAPE ARTIST! I could just put on a pair of cuffs and get out. I prefer to give my audience something back for spending their time and money on me. What's with the hang up of this "one act play" stuff you keep on about? Isn't every routine a "one act play" in one way or another? Don't most EA's use stories to add to the presentation of a routine? Isn't this a "one act play"? And do you honestly believe that your audience is so naive to think that you are really doing what you say you are doing? They know there is some trick to it, yet you are too good at hiding the trick from them they can't find it.

Maybe it's different in the states to here in the UK, but audiences here are very sceptical when it comes to people claiming they can do unusual things. We've had 30 something years of Geller claiming to be something more than 'normal'. Do people believe him? Many don't. Do they enjoy watching him? Most I've spoken to do. Why? Could it be he has perfected his character and his performance so that it is part of him?

I agree with you when you say that I will continue to do what I want. Because I will. I refuse to be another clone. I want to create a piece of performance art that uses escapes as my medium.

Good luck to you Steve, I hope you have another 34 years using the same methods as you always have done. I will have my 34 years experimenting with new ways to present escapes so that my audiences don't already know what is going to happen until they see the show.

R
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
My home online
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter
The Donster
View Profile
Inner circle
4817 Posts

Profile of The Donster
Presenting Escape Artistry is or one might consider Showmanship/Theatre/Acting/BS Etc. no Matter where one is you talk to the Audience Etc. Don,
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
Well, I hardly think of myself as a clone, but I DO think of myself as EXPERIENCED. I DO try new things, but I always hold on to time-honored principles that have served me in various situations.

I personally would not camp-up a perfectly good escape (new or old concept) with overly-theatrical elements that might detract from the sincerety of what's being sold.

If I want to do a barrel escape with the historical dressing of 'piratical torture,' I would study the history of such things (compile facts, names and dates) and create a story to tell.

I would tell that story while showing the barrel, allowing it to be examined, etc.

I would then emphasize that I am being encased in the same manner as a victim of a pirate raid, etc.

The escape would then be carried out seriously, with volunteers making sure all is carried out legitimately (or so they are led to think).

What I would avoid like the plague is having a team of assistants in cheesy pirate costumes roughing me up and bellowing "Arrrrrr!!!" To me, such elements would detract from the sincerety of the escape, making it appear as a farce.

If that makes me a fossil, then a fossil I am, but considering the alternative, I prefer to be such a 'fossil.'

Steve

Additional points:

"Isn't every routine a "one act play" in one way or another?"

Yes, but a good escape or mentalist routine should be engineered to look like anything but, since both forms owe their success to the 'illusion of reality.'

"... do you honestly believe that your audience is so naive to think that you are really doing what you say you are doing?"

Some are; some aren't. The main thing is NOT whether someone suspects a trick, but whether your presentations are engineered to reduce such suspicions to a minimum.

"They know there is some trick to it, yet you are too good at hiding the trick from them they can't find it."

If you sell it as a trick, it comes off as a trick. If you sell it as a straightforward challenge to your skill and knowledge, with the possibility of 'cheap trickery' being minimized, if not eradicated, a good portion of the audience will speculate over skill-based methods beyond the reach of a traditional 'magician's trick.' Even the hardened skeptic will be left 'wracking his brains' over an annoying mystery.

"Maybe it's different in the states to here in the UK, but audiences here are very sceptical when it comes to people claiming they can do unusual things."

I highly doubt that. Both the USA and the UK have their share of hardened skeptics, as well as their 'occult societies.' Both skepticism and gullibility transcend national borders.

I guess the bottom line is: is escapology being sold as a magician's trick, or a near-miraculous skill?

If it's a magician's trick, then anything goes.

If it's a near-miraculous skill, then a careful observation of sincerety and decorum is in order.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Roslyn
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
3404 Posts

Profile of Roslyn
After reading your last 2 posts, it appears that we are both basically saying the same thing and wanting to achieve similar results. All be it we are attacking the problem from different angles. I too do not want a performance to be cheesy, but then putting people in costumes doesn't have to be... does it?

I certainly have learnt some things from your points of view, and these will no doubt help me carve my own way in escapes. I hope that my opinions will serve a similar purpose. I do feel it a shame that this was very much a 2 person conversation and that others didn't join in and offer more scope.

We live and learn.

Roslyn

ps
I don't see you as a fosil. And your experience is very much respected, I hope I didn't come across as disrespectful. :o)
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
My home online
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
Not at all.
I do respect your originality and sense of innovation. As long as you acknowledge the audience's perception of escapes as "something that is real" (and work hard to maintain that impression), there is nothing wrong with working in some original staging, and even touches of oddball humor. The main thing, though is to make sure that neither the theatricality or the humor detract from the 'illusion of reality.'

Handled tastefully, getting a couple 'roughs' out of the audience to assist and having them don bandanas and eye patches to 'look the part' (grin) is good entertainment, and related pirate gags would work. The main thing, of course, is to make sure that the humor does not detract from the drama of the actual escape.

The real damage is done when a supposedly 'serious challenge escape' is performed like a overly-staged and choreographed dance, or a low farce, like something out of children's pantomime. I've seen such travesties on TV, performed by major illusionists claiming to be 'master escape artists' and have felt my guts crawl.

Ennyhoo...good luck to you, Roslyn, and to all of the people on this thread hiding under their chairs.
;)
Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
The Donster
View Profile
Inner circle
4817 Posts

Profile of The Donster
I for one Applaud the Two of you both of you have kept what you were saying in order and you were not going at each others throats. like some people have in the past here. I think that is why some people are afraid to post here any more because of the arguments. it was nice when evreyone helped and it looks like that might be happening again. Don,
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
Roslyn and I are both gentlemen and not ego-monsters, so we can actually talk and achieve common ground.

I've dealt with some, including an occasional big name, who live entirely by "Don't dare you insult me by disagreeing with me, you fithy, no-name worm!!!"

Egocentricity hinders communication and usually impresses nobody (except for impressing them that you're behaving like a petulant child).

I'm above that. Roslyn is above that. Many other good people here are above that.

Yes, we can all get heated, but wise people know when to take ten and pull in the horns.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Profan
View Profile
New user
59 Posts

Profile of Profan
Is it safe to come out now?......lol

I have to admit that you both made some excellent points. I believe that as an escape artist, the main proirity is to entertain the audience. However, I also think that overdoing it too much either way can cheapen the effect.

For example, I wouldn't really care too much if someone went through a dramatic build-up, only to don a rainbow wig and a rubber nose before getting locked up. Also, I've seen an escape artist who was TOO serious, asking for complete silence, no laughing, and would actually yell at the audience if he saw them doing something while he was performing.

Now, being handcuffed.... The point was introduced that if you've already escaped from them before, why do it again? The audience already knows you can do it. This can be true in a sense, but try applying that to other aspects of magic. If someone picks a card and you find it, why bother to show them another one? They already know you can find their selected card, no matter what you do in between the selection and the revelation. In this sense, I think the aspect of repetition is pretty much nonexistant to the audience.

Finally (for now), I want to discuss the aspect of "realism" in escapes. True, I don't particularly want to see an escape presented as a farce. However, consider the milk can escape here. A performer is handcuffed. They are placed in a milk can (or barrel, oil drum, etc.) that is filled with water, therefore allowing them no oxygen. The lid is locked on fromt he outside using borrowed locks that can even be sealed to prevent picking. Everything is solid and real.

But suddenly, the performer is sitting on top of the barrel. Everything is still locked. Everything is still solid. There is still water inside the container. Exactly what part of this is real? To me, nothing. How can someone get out of all that and have it still be locked up tight? To me, something like that makes it seem quite obvious that there is a trick involved, rather than just an escape.
Riley
View Profile
Special user
Darlington UK
939 Posts

Profile of Riley
Quote:
On 2004-08-29 16:24, Profan wrote:

...But suddenly, the performer is sitting on top of the barrel. Everything is still locked. Everything is still solid. There is still water inside the container. Exactly what part of this is real? To me, nothing. How can someone get out of all that and have it still be locked up tight? To me, something like that makes it seem quite obvious that there is a trick involved, rather than just an escape.


NOT SUDDENLY! Although the members of the audience will have their own theories - we should give them something to THINK about as well as entertain them - the escape artist knows that if the audience think escape is possible TOO quickly, the tension is lost. It must appear difficult, slightly uncertain, ("failure means a drowning death" etc). . . they have to LIKE the EA, and care whether he survives or not.. Smile
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
Also, that whole 'impossible vs. improbable' thing is, in itself, fun for the EA to play with.

Granted, it is physically impossible to get out of a padlocked milk can without some kind of trick. If you go out of your way to demonstrate the solidity of the can and the legitimacy of the 'locking in' process, however, you create something better than a trick; you create a MYSTERY.

According to Ian McColl, popular televised escape scenarios in Australia have been different than escapes in the USA. While American escapists have concentrated on Guiness Book records and exploding cars, Australian EAs have concentrated on mind-wracking mystery.

The type of stunt you would see on Aussie TV would be along the lines of the performer having a steel drum examined in advance by mechanics, welders, etc. to confirm the legitimacy of the equipment. He would be locked in under stringent controlled conditions, then escape leaving everything intact.
The drum would be sent out immediately to a technical college, or etc., where the professors and students would re-examine the drum and beat their brains out trying to come to a solution as to how the performer got out.
The drum was generally placed on public display both before and after the scheduled stunt.

Norman Bigelow used to occasionally open all the locks on a milk can, trunk, etc. after he escaped, leaving the device unlocked and open when he came into view.
This caused the audience to say to themselves, "Wait a minute; he was INSIDE and the locks were on the OUTSIDE! How in the ...?!?"

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Roslyn
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
3404 Posts

Profile of Roslyn
"If someone picks a card and you find it, why bother to show them another one? They already know you can find their selected card, no matter what you do in between the selection and the revelation. In this sense, I think the aspect of repetition is pretty much nonexistant to the audience."

Well this is my point. I wouldn't do a pick a card type trick, then follow it up with another pick a card type trick. You could get 3 cards picked at the same time to make it 'harder' for you and then find them all in different ways. This would be similar to having 3 pairs of cuffs. It's one effect that is obviously hard and if each cuff is visually different then you would use '3 different methods of escape'. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule of repetition, the ambitious card for example works because it repeats, and I suppose this is similar to an 'in/out' type escape where you have the hands cuffed and placed in a bag, slip the cuffs and tap the spectators, have a drink etc and then put the hands back in the bag only to pull them out cuffed again.

The Bigelow idea of leaving the locks open is really nice. As is leaving the audience with that 'huh????' feeling.

Ros
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
My home online
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter
The Donster
View Profile
Inner circle
4817 Posts

Profile of The Donster
As for the EA Who Shouted at the audience if they made any noise when he asked them to be silent/quiet. no one is going to be 100% quiet some may be whispering. and what kind of a Entertainer will yell at his/her audience. you Don't you want to entertain/thrill them as for Ian now Does He or Does he not Perform. Don, P.S. is this the Same Ian who Makes Custom made handcuffs etc.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
View Profile
Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
"you Don't you want to entertain/thrill them as for Ian now Does He or Does he not Perform." Smile

I understand don't for you what phrasology used you referred to used here. Smile

But seriously, Don, I think I know what you are asking.
Ian McColl did NOT perform the escapes in Australia that I aluded to. These 'mysterious escapes' were performed by another EA who got a great deal of media attention from them. Ian simply told me about these TV performances.
Entertainment and 'thrills' can be achieved by things other than explosions & crashes, though explosions & crashes are certainly one method of doing so.

"P.S. is this the Same Ian who Makes Custom made handcuffs etc."

That's the guy.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Ian McColl
View Profile
Inner circle
1485 Posts

Profile of Ian McColl
Hi, Don it is me that Steve has been talking about, the one and the same. I have done ( Many year ago ) now some public performance to which I was paid, all were spots within another persons show, kind of a guest performance.
The bulk of my escapes have been with small groups and private escapes while trailing a new idea or demonstrating an effect.

I have a great passion for escapes but shun the limelight. I felt on all occasions doing thing in public uncomfortable with any attention and I remember one once night, looking over my shoulder to see who the audience were clapping.

Steve, I think audiences in Australia have changed a bit since I related the story of Arthur Coghlan’s Drum (1980) escape although Aussie audience in the main are sceptical and if an escape can be presented beyond a reasonable doubt to be all above board it works better than not.

I have been to many performances by others and listen to those in ear shot. If an escape is made by someone who appears brash and distant. Also that all items are just shown and then put on and subsequently escaped from, the audience don’t seem interested or believing. Whereas when the performance is open and embracing to the audience and that at least some people are asked to ‘freely’ inspect what items are going to be used, then the performance and the performer are received well.

Ian
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Little Help? (0 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.28 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL