A Play about Dai Vernon

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
Bill Mullins
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A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Bill Mullins » February 18th, 2011, 12:33 pm


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JohnCox
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby JohnCox » February 18th, 2011, 12:36 pm

Nifty. Thank you.
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Richard Hatch » February 18th, 2011, 1:28 pm

Wonder why David Ben was not the consultant on this? I've gotta say that the image used on the site does not bode well for the play as historically accurate! Doesn't mean it won't be a good play, just sayin'...

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Bob Farmer » February 18th, 2011, 3:38 pm

Looks worthless.

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Richard Hatch » February 18th, 2011, 4:00 pm

I like the title...
I'd never heard of Greg Kramer, the magic consultant, but found a few online links:
http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/OnStage ... 8&id2=8528
http://www.houseofkramer.com/magic/magic.html
I found the penultimate line of his wikipedia entry curious for such a bio and it led to this article:
http://archives.xtra.ca/Story.aspx?s=2291658

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 18th, 2011, 4:15 pm

Is he trying to get Dai Vernon into the Club of Queer Trades by way of his shadow and then moving into the magic castle? Street shadographer becomes house magician?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Richard Hatch
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Richard Hatch » March 10th, 2011, 9:29 pm

The reviews are starting to come in:
http://www.emcottawawest.ca/20110310/en ... +fuel+play

Then there's this interesting site:
http://shadowcutter.com/

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Bob Farmer » March 12th, 2011, 9:16 am


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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Richard Hatch » March 13th, 2011, 1:58 am


Jonathan Townsend
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 13th, 2011, 11:51 pm

Reads like not even an appearance by the ghost of Erdnase could save that play.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Roger M.
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Roger M. » March 14th, 2011, 10:52 am

This quote in the review Richard linked to is interesting:

Rather than a warts-and-all portrait, it seems to be little but warts.

Could it be that reviewers were expecting a shiny, friendly, perfect Vernon?

We all know that, in fact, there were many warts. To the layman, it could quite rightly appear to be all warts.............and that doesn't often make for enjoyable contemporary theatre.

(I don't trust theatre reviewers.....never have, never will.)

Vernon's obsessive search for Kennedy's Center Deal (for example) would be difficult, if not impossible for a layman to understand. There really is no way to put it into a context that would play well for somebody who didn't already know the story.

Perhaps there's a reason Vernon's life hasn't been put to the stage before.......it's a hard one to do well, and it's a hard one to make entertaining for somebody who doesn't already know the lay of the land.

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 14th, 2011, 7:24 pm

Roger, there's nothing more or less interesting/dramatic to people than human life. The matter is one of perspective and context - or in this case from mundane society into the shadowlands of secrets. Evidently (so far) the shadow of an obsession was not so well cut in the script or cast in the performance.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 14th, 2011, 7:51 pm

Roger M. wrote:Vernon's obsessive search for Kennedy's Center Deal (for example) would be difficult, if not impossible for a layman to understand. There really is no way to put it into a context that would play well for somebody who didn't already know the story.

Ive seen Ricky Jay do it in both performance and his talks (and the majority of his audiences are not usually made up of magicians). But this is not to say that its not as difficult as you suggest: Not everyone is the performer/storyteller that Ricky Jay is. Furthermore, in 52 Assistants, he uses a bit of the showmans prerogative (or artistic licensewhichever you please) and condenses time so it sounds like a single trip.

Dustin

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Roger M. » March 14th, 2011, 9:12 pm

I'd put Ricky Jay at the very top of the pile when it comes to being able to convey anything to do with the art, craft, and history of magic to either laymen, or magicians.

He also tends to (and I don't mean this insultingly) worship Vernon, making his take on Vernon more along the lines of what a layman might enjoy and understand.

Vernon was a complex fellow, and lots of that complexity wasn't what the average theatre goer would either approve of, or understand.

Having said that, I'd presume that this run in the Capital of Canada likely wouldn't, and couldn't hold a candle to anything that Ricky Jay might put together.

With Vernon as the subject matter, a writer, director, and performer must inherently determine how they're going to make a sometimes dislikable (but always interesting) Dai Vernon resonate for laymen.

Not easy.

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David Byron
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby David Byron » March 15th, 2011, 10:42 am

We could start a movement: Put Jay in the Dai Play

Of course, that (regrettable) bit o' rhyme works only among east coast magi.

I can just see Vernon's own review of the play: "The Shadow Cutter? That's the biggest piece of s*** I've ever seen!"

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 15th, 2011, 12:25 pm

Mamet on Vernon by way of Ricky Jay could work.

Probably entirely miss the basic issue of a person fading into the shadows they used to cut and into a nether realm where secrets take the place of people and relationships are need-to-know.

Still be intersting, IMHO.

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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Richard Hatch » March 15th, 2011, 12:47 pm


Jonathan Townsend
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Re: A Play about Dai Vernon

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 16th, 2011, 7:49 am

There is a large theatrical interest in that area - about the same as our national use of movies as common cultural language here. If you can get past the iconoclasms there's much positive said about the cast, production design and ideas behind the show.

Thanks for the reminder of just how disjointed and strange our little world seems to the world where drama and clich suffice to fix attention between commercials.

Hey look, a new release from ... oh cool, underground routines kept quiet for almost five years and tipped only to working pros and insiders who will now blurb about how they wish the stuff would have stayed quiet and how the material should have been offered at higher price to keep it from the merely curious.
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