Rip up a card, and then put it back together. On the surface, its such an odd and illogical thing. But could there be more self-contained meaning in it than we think? I say self-contained in that the spectator, not the performer, supplies the meaning.
Why tear the card and restore it? We could ask the same question of other effects. Why saw the lady in half? Why smash the volunteers watch into little pieces? Why link and unlink the rings?
To wonder why during a piece-by-piece torn and restored trick is part of the drama. The resolution is the restoration phase where you, the performer, fulfill your role as healer. Indeed, you become more than physician. You wield power over destiny. You are the destroyer AND creator. Dare I say it? You are godlike.
Okay, maybe thats a little hyperbolic, but I hope you can see where Im going with this. The piece-by-piece torn and restored card has its own internal meaning, which is only strengthened by the human condition.
It wasnt until I added torn and restored card routines to my repertoire that I appreciated the highly commercial nature of this wonderful plot. Theres actually a surprising amount of emotion invested in the tearing of a playing card. Its really interesting to observe the impact this simple action can have on people. Jons "Whatcha do that for?" observation is an excellent example, one Ive experienced myself many times over.
But, back to the point, rather than ask why tear the card and restore it, a better question to ask is why is tearing a card so disturbing to the onlooker? Why the inherent drama? The answer is relative to the observer. We, as card enthusiasts, take these ubiquitous pasteboards for granted. After all, we're the ones who go through packs like a chain smoker, buying them by the wholesale dozen at Costco and Sams Club. We seem to forget about their value to lay people. We hold cards in our hands every day, and to us, theyre as cheap and disposable as notebook paper.
But to laymen, a deck of cards deserves to be treated as you would a book, since destroying just one of its pages decreases its usefulness and insults its owner. So there seems to be some strange psychological taboo to it. I suspect it stems from good upbringing. We are taught even as toddlers to respect other peoples property and take good care of the things we have. So whenever they see someone rip up a card or, worse yet, rip up SOMEONE ELSES cardthey cringe a little.
So this almost sacred status of cards is something we can really exploit to good effect. People will silently root for you to restore the card.
I know everyone's going to hate me for saying this, but at the end of a piece-by-piece torn and restored card routine, I don't think they really care as much about WHY you did it, than the simple fact that you DID it.