Saturday, February 16, 2013

Power Claiming!

Didi01  /
So my gf started blogging and her first post was magic related, Yeah! She made an interesting observation. Because of our advances in technology and our awareness of technology any power claim that we magicians come up with becomes more and more ridiculous. Be it the mystical stone that heals everything, the magic wand that causes the magic, or the accident you had as a kind that allows you to read peoples thoughts.

So magicians instead have compensated for that by not proclaiming any power claim and just doing the shit they are doing. The result is a mess. They mix classic routines which have implied various power claims. They keep using the wand when doing  the cups and balls. They use magic salt for the torn and restored napkin. Minds are read using clever psychological principles.

The mess lies in the fact that the show as a whole suffers, as the cause of magic remains unknown and everything feels like a movie that is cut together by using clips from different movies. It might be the best scenes, yet the whole show has no story arc at all.

I suppose that only good magicians are aware of it. But I assume that the majority of magicians are unconsciously aware of it. So they feel unhappy with their work and cannot really put the finger on what is wrong with their show.

So here it is: Add a power claim! Yes it will be ridiculous, it won't be seen as the serious cause for your magic. But it works as a MacGuffin. It will push the magic. It automatically tells you what tricks you can and cannot do. And you can expand on the claim and it can become a character on it's own.

Example: You are a magician. Your power claim is that "secret thing" your pocket that you never show. It makes all your magic possible. What it is exactly you will never reveal. So naturally you have to go into your pocket all the time, take that "secret thing" out and rub it against the torn pieces of a piece of paper, which then restores. Or you put two pieces of rope in your pocket. The ends are hanging out of the pocket. You then pull on both ends and the pieces have fused into a long piece of rope.

So far the "secret thing" has done restorations. You can of course add other abilities to the "secret thing" It can cause steel to penetrate steel. It can cause coins to become invisible. It can made sponges go from one hand to the other.
So you see. The "secret thing" becomes a cool thing on it's own. Aside from the totally practical aspect of having a motivation to go into the pocket all the time. The "secret thing" is a character now. Maybe it even has a mind on it's own. Maybe you can struggle with it, as the result of the magic is not quite as you intend it. Now we are entering the realm of a dramatic conflict (not a real one of course) and suddenly your show is about something instead of being about everything.

The ending could be all about revealing what the "secret thing" is. And I leave you alone with that.


cirrus said...

I love the thinking... I use a magic wand for my cups and balls and this made me think about what I could do more with it.

Marplots said...

This is great. I have been struggling with a way to work my penis into a performance.

Magnus Asbjorn said...

Bizarre magicians seem to get along pretty well with power claiming.

Obsidian3D said...

Very interesting take on the 'I have magic powers' concept. I think that, presented the right way in character, it could certainly be made to work, and probably work very well.