Tuesday, September 15, 2009
More and more I am lead to believe that handing out props before the actual performance of the trick is crucial. It usually is a huge part of most cups and balls routines. And undoubtedly the cups and balls are a pretty old trick, therefore the part of the handing out of the cups is pretty old too. And it is important, because if you do not do it, people will assume during the cause of the routine, that the cups are the modus operandi. That thought must be avoided at all cost, because it is the performer who wants to get the credit for his effort. Not the cups.
The same should be true for other tricks as well. Card tricks for example. Most performers do not hand out the cards, before they start the card tricks. They should. Not only that. They should also let the spectators shuffle the cards. How often do I hear a layperson asking the performer if he/she can shuffle the cards. If he/she would have been allowed that from the very beginning, the question would not arise. Also, the performer will get all the credit and none would go to the cards.
Should it be done with every single prop... Honestly, yes, but most often it cannot be done with all props, for they might find something. So the key is to find the right balance between handing stuff out and not doing it.
And here are a few pointers to decide whether it is needed or not.
1. Is the prop above suspicion? (pencil, scissors)
2. Is the pacing obviously more important than the examination?
3. Is the drama more important than the examination?
4. Would an examination be a task that is hard to do?
1. If a prop is above suspicion it must not be handed out, or it will draw suspicion.
2. A show has a certain pacing, and if that pacing would be interrupted by a close examination of the props, and if that interruption would be obvious by the spectators that there is no need for the examination, as the spectators would understand that it would "kill" the flow of the routine.
3. Sometimes if it is important that a prop is not handed out, for you might want a certain "false thinking" to distract from the real method. Most sucker tricks work on that premise.
4. Working on a stage handing out props is not really an easy task. Illusions cannot be given out to the spectators, and asking a spectator on stage might be a difficult task too, if there is no staircase leading to the stage. If those "handicaps" are understood by the audience, they will understand the reasons why they are not allowed to examine the props in use. Those reasons, might not be the real reasons, but they will suffice in the spectators mind.
complaints go to Roland