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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Tempo, Middle, and Yourself . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RandyWakeman
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PERFORMANCE TEMPO and THE PROPER MIDDLE and IDENTIFYING YOURSELF

I'll relate a few personal observations regarding the performance of close-up magic, which I'm sure others can elaborate on. The first has to do with the pace of a close-up performance.

TEMPO
I've always loved effects with multiple climaxes . . . surprise after surprise after surprise. Also, I've had the propensity toward working fast. Too fast, I have learned over the years. By talking and working quickly, it has had the unfortunate result of one climax stepping over the next. By not giving your audience time to relax, to react for a beat or so, the full impact of what you have just accomplished cannot be realized. So, if you are a brisk worker like myself, you might wish consider slowing down, particularly after a “magical moment.” It has helped my thinking, and also please consider that sometimes, the most effective patter can be complete silence.

THE PROPER MIDDLE

We all know the “opener” should quickly establish the performer as a real magician, a pro. Most agree that the “closer” should be a strong, memorable effect that “cannot be followed.” But, strikingly little attention has been paid to what makes a good, cohesive, middle effect . . . magical, certainly, but easy enough on the eyes and ears to allow the audience to relax, appreciate, and enjoy. Thoughts?

IDENTIFYING YOURSELF

Who is it that you want to be? A comedian, a person with obvious skill, or someone that “magical things happen around?” It is a broad question, with no right or wrong for everyone, but if you can identify your specific goal, routining and selection of magical pieces to compliment that aspiration becomes much, much easier.

Three threads in one, no cover charge, and all (to me, anyway) vitally important subjects appertaining to the most effective way to present Magic.
christopher carter
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Re: identifying yourself.

The magicians I like best are those who have an identifiable point of view. Their magic comments on, or expresses an attitude about, the rest of the world, and at the same time seems to spring from the core of an authentic self. Don Alan was such a magician, so is Eugene Burger. This, to my mind, is the greatest aspiration possible in magic. One's magic should be a reflection of one's self. Or, from the audience viewpoint, if you're not sharing something of YOU with me, why should I be interested.

How does one accomplish this goal? I don't have any easy answers. Self examination, careful selection of material, careful scripting and rehearsal. Beyond these things, the one thing that seems to help me is simply practicing a routine so often, changing it around, fussing with it, that I am capable of 'finding myself' within the routine.

--Christopher Carter
RandyWakeman
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The "do the magic that is you" seems, at first blush, like great advice-- we have all heard that before. Yet, it takes a lot of performances before any piece actually becomes a part of us.

Rare was the Don Alan effect that came from nowhere. It was his living with the effects, adding the touches and bits of business along the way that made them "his own."
Stephen Long
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Just quickly (because it's one o' clock in the morning over here now and I need to get some sleep) in reference to "the middle".

You now have me thinking, Randy, as to why magicians rarely discuss "the middle".
I often hear talk of how strong and memorable one's closing effect should be and I wouldn't argue.
But I would say this: Shouldn't every effect we perform be memorable?
I certainly don't want anything I perform to be forgotten.
And it would be nice to think that the effects in our reportiores are so strong that we couldn't perform a forgettable effect if we wanted to (provided the presentation is there of course).

I do not deny that some effects are stronger than others. Of course they are; they have to be by their very natures that they are different effects.
But surely, the effects we perform in the middle of our little sets should ideally meet the same requirements that our opening and closing effects should:
all should establish one as a "pro"; all should be strong and memorable.
In a perfect world, of course.
:bg:

Stephen
:coolspot:
Hello.
RandyWakeman
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Quote:
You now have me thinking, Randy, as to why magicians rarely discuss "the middle".
I often hear talk of how strong and memorable one's closing effect should be and I wouldn't argue.
But I would say this: Shouldn't every effect we perform be memorable?


We like to think that. Yet, a "grand finale" can't happen with every routine-- it isn't theatrically correct.

Magic suffers by comparison, yet if everything we do "cannot" be followed . . . something is wrong somewhere, as some routines need to be followed / built upon / extended / complimented by what is to come.
Dave Egleston
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This is an hard one for me - I need to learn one more trick before I can work on a "middle"
Dave
Kard16
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Quote:
On 2002-08-18 02:05, RandyWakeman wrote:
THE PROPER MIDDLE

We all know the “opener” should quickly establish the performer as a real magician, a pro. Most agree that the “closer” should be a strong, memorable effect that “cannot be followed.” But, strikingly little attention has been paid to what makes a good, cohesive, middle effect . . . magical, certainly, but easy enough on the eyes and ears to allow the audience to relax, appreciate, and enjoy. Thoughts?


Wow randy I never though about that Smile . I guess the middle is sort of like a movie, like a climax. Your magic starts out keeping there attention and focus, then it starts to build and build, becoming more unbelievable every trick, untill bang, your finale.
RandyWakeman
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There is a certain ebb and flow to good writing, whether a monologue, screenplay, or a three part theatrical production.

It need not ramp upward continuously - - not every line can be a punchline. The question of good "middle pieces" is intended to focus on what compliments the entire presentation. It need not have the attention-getting of openers, for the openers have (hopefully) gained that for us. It need not have the bombastic or frenetic quality of closing routines, we need to give the audience time to breathe. We need time to establish our conversation with the audience, and our audience to get to know us as well.

I'm not suggesting that center sections of a performance should be weaker or less magicial. The pacing and types of effects should act as a conduit between our whiz-bang openers, and our "cannot be followed" closing sets. Good transitional routines may be harder to quantify, yet are no less important, and seem often neglected.
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