Wednesday, October 28, 2009
EDEN - This looks late, but it's technically early.
Before I start this rant, I think it's only fair that I mention I have been making a living performing cups and balls as a street performer for the past two years. Yes, like many others, I have been doing "Gazzo's Show". For those of you who don't know, it has pretty well become the standard street magic routine (especially in the UK). They even have a whole pitch of nothing but C&B workers doing the exact same show on repeat at Covent Gardens.
With that out of the way...
Yes, it's true I started my routine heavily HEAVILY influenced by Gazzo. What I noticed very quickly, however, was that a lot of Gazzo's lines just simply did not suit me. For reference, Gazzo is a fifty something British man, and I am twenty and Asian. So what did I do? I stopped doing them and wrote my own lines. And my show was better for it. Last August though, I travelled to Scotland, where I saw a handful of Gazzo Clones still doing his show line for line. They must have been making decent livings doing it, but it raised some questions. Why not write some of your own lines? Granted, Gazzo's show works because it has been audience tested for about thirty years, and many "stock lines" are funny just because most of your audience has not seen a street performer before. Consider this though. Gazzo's lines work for Gazzo. You are not Gazzo, and your own lines will work for you. If you follow in someones footsteps, you will never be in front of them. I can only think of one reason.
It's too hard/I'm just not funny
I think this is more a matter of laziness. I'm not saying don't do any stock lines, but if you manage to get a laugh doing something off the cuff, try and work it into your next performance. Keep this up, and over many performances, you will have something to call your own.
Moving out of the realm of street performers, it pains me to no end to see performances taken word for word from the DVD. I think this is more a problem with video teaching, as a book (even with lines suggested) will force you to find your own timing and wording of the lines. I have even seen performers unknowingly adopt accents when delivering lines taken straight from tapes. And I think we all know of the 13 year-old starting a trick with "...and this one I learned from my travels to the orient". Painful. Don't be those people. Think for yourself. You CAN do it. It will pay off.
One of my friends (and an awesome street performer!) frames every new idea with the question: "Does it work for my character?" and if it doesn't she simply doesn't use it, no matter how good the idea was originally. I don't think she reads this blog, but if she does, Hi Billy!
For the record, I have created an entirely new show that is ready to debut any time now. I am excited for it. Sorry for the lack of hilarious ranting in this post.
eden loves you all and hopes your dreams come true.
complaints go to streeteden