My Stage Routine

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 09/14/06 02:47 PM

I have been going back and forth on what kind of material I should use in a stage routine. I have been loking over all of my material and have finally decided on an idea and a general flow so here it is.

I walk out onto stage. I casually pull a pocket handkerchief. I show it to be empty and then proceed to pull a pair of sunglasses out. I take them and look through them. The sunglasses are then vanished into the handkerchief where it then shown empty. I then take the handkerchief by two corners and let the rest hang down. The handkerchief is pulled in front of my face and then back down. Then back up but jerked away and the sunglasses are on my face. the handkerchief is then used to produce a single half dollar. The half is turned into a jumbo half. The jumbo coin is put in the pocket and another is produced; and another, and another and then...... Ok this is were I have gotten. I am never good with endings. I will have some manipulation with the coins but I need help with the sunglasses.

If anyone has critics on the routine or how to end it I would love to here it. If you want a feel for the routine watch Jeff McBride for the sunglasses on YouTube part and "Shooting Kennedy" by Shoot Ogawa. I am also looking to add more to it so if someone could help me brainstorm ideas that will tie in nicely

Postby Guest » 09/14/06 03:38 PM

Constructing a meaningful ending for an apparently random plot can be pretty hard.

What is your character's relation to these magical events? If you examine/construct the meaning that the props have for your character, maybe you will find your routine's plot, which may suggest one or more endings.

Working strictly with your sequence of events as written above: Is your character trying to blow his nose, but is thwarted by the handkerchief constantly producing hard objects?

Another approach to plot construction is to have the end in mind from the start, then spend your time figuring out how to get there. Writer J Michael Straczynski develops character and plot together by asking these three questions:

1) Who is this character?
2) What does this character want?
3) What will this character do in order to get it?

1 and 2 are the foundation, and #3 is the plot which is built atop them.

Postby NCMarsh » 09/14/06 09:34 PM

Where do you intend to perform this and for whom?

What you're describing can be anywhere from :30 to 2 min. -- a very short amount of time on stage in any venue.

Honestly, at the point you seem to be at, I wouldn't worry about getting too clever/creative. Work up solid, classic material and focus on getting as much experience as possible doing it in front of an audience -- comedy club guest spot, coffeehouse open mics, whatever.

Realistically, unless you are doing a 10 minute manipulative act, each piece you do on stage should give you 5-6 minutes (which, with audience participation, is a very easy time to hit). Openers are the most frequent exception to this rule. If you want, at some point, to have a full evening show (30-45 min., most likely in the banquet market), now you want to get experience doing the 5-6 minute pieces wherever you can, those then become the building blocks of the longer show.

I spent a long time "working on my show" by dreaming up clever stuff. The reality is, until you've spent the time on stage, you don't know who you are as a performer and you have a poor sense of what the audience is looking for. When my show really came together was when I hammered out -- piece by piece -- classic material at a local comedy club. I'm still continuing that process, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made and I highly recommend it as the path to having a real stage act.

The creativity will come when the time is right, walk before you fly...

Just my .02,

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Postby Guest » 09/15/06 02:09 PM

Thanks alot I never really thought of that. I was going to perform at my school Showcase. I really liked that you said about devleloping the character. I have a charecter in my head I just haven't really thought what would he do. I like the idea of someone being burdened by objects coming out of the handkercheif. Have you ever seen the Cardini videos? That is the kind of character I have in mind. Those are the general effects that I would like to do. If I could figure a way that that sunglasses raise from the handkercheif. How should I bring the handkercheif into things? This is as far as I've gotten I am not really sure what to do from there. What can I really do with a jumbo coin? Should I put the coin away and do something else. I really don't know anything else I can produce. I might go into a Miser's Dream but would it fit in. I am asking for some extra material and ways to do what I have gotten.

Postby Guest » 09/15/06 04:23 PM

The benefit of developing your character before you work on your material is that if you want to get any good at magic, you are eventually going to have to let your character drive all your choice of material. So it saves some time to get the character first before you spend years working on tricks you eventually drop. However many people -- especially young people -- can use some help understanding know who they are, and sometimes looking at the tricks you like to do can help with that.

That said, I have for years had, in the back of my mind, an act where I begin by showing a handkerchief empty and then producing... my glasses, which I then put on. After that, as a running gag, I would keep producing my glasses in surprising ways -- say as a load in a chop cup routine -- at which point the audience would realize that they were no longer on my face. I put them back on, and on we go.

I never got very far with it, although if I ever do pick it up again I will start with gaaffed glasses where one of the ear-things is detachable and will stay behind your ear.

Postby Pete Biro » 09/15/06 05:26 PM

Sometimes it can take years to figure out your character... so... work, think, be that character.
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