Fitch's new race of super magicians

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 07/26/01 01:21 PM

Is Bob Fitch building a new race of super magicians? Last year I wrote in Genii about Bob's magic camp which strives to integrate theater with magic. For those who don't know Bob, he has appeared in over 20 shows on Broadway as an Actor/Dancer/Singer. The line-up for Bob's camp this year includes Paul Gertner, Giovanni Livera, Bob Sheets, Bob Kohler, Paul Wilson, and Bill Malone. No these are not hired stars, they are paying for the privilege of working intensively with Bob & his staff for one week! I find it especially interesting that all the above greats are (or at least began as) close-up magicians! Is magic becoming more "theatrical?" Is this opposed to Vernon's constant urgings to "be natural?" Hope this stirs up some discussion, unfortunately I'm off on vacation for the next week, then go up to work with Bob for a week myself!

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Postby Brian Marks » 07/26/01 06:00 PM

As someone who is an actor and taken many acting classes, the point of being theatrical is to appear natural on stage or on camera. There is a saying in the world of acting. "If I can see you acting, your not!" Too many bad actors give a bad name to what it means to be theatrical.
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Postby Guest » 07/27/01 01:21 PM

The expression "to be natural" have been as good for many magicians as have been really damaging for many magicians when they tray to apply it on stage.
Brian expressed very well.

[ August 08, 2001: Message edited by: Alfonso Rios ]
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Postby Guest » 07/30/01 10:56 AM

Brian,

Howdy from the Deleware beaches! Thanks for your response. Your insight is appreciated. One point I am trying to bring up is that Vernon (to my knowledge) did not suggest the study of acting and the theater to aid in to being (or appearing) natural. He simply said, "Be Natural." Though he was a master and promoter of magical technique, he never - as far as I know - recommended learning theatrical or acting techniques to those to whom he gave advice. I don't know of anyone who is alive now who saw Vernon perform any portion of his stage act. My feeling in seeing his close-up performances (on tape of course) is that they were natural in that he strived to make his interaction with his audiences on an "equal" level. My opinion is that he tried to break down the 4th wall, tried to eliminate the feeling on a performer on stage and separate from the audience. This is a choice that thinking performers must make. I think it is very different from learning and perfecting techniques that allow you to appear natural yet maintain the 4th wall.

You are in a tiny minority of american magicians who use a knowledge of acting to contribute to their performance. What books or classes would you recommend for magicians to explore this subject further. Also, acting books are not written with magicians in mind, how can magicians find what is appropriate for them in acting literature.?

Mark
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/30/01 11:21 AM

Honestly, the fourth wall is not a terribly important part of acting. What's more important is being in the moment, expressing emotion, and reacting to the situations that present themselves (whether planned or unplanned). The fourth wall is only a necessity to seperate the audience and the real world from the actors and the fantasy world that they create. In a close-up magic performance, the audience is an active part of that fantasy world, so there is no fourth wall. However, it is still important to stay in character (although 99% of the time that chracter will be you, or a carictature of you), to be aware of what's happening - not jsut to the cards or coins or your hands, but to the audience around you, their reactions, any unplanned events, etc. It's also important to have natural (for your character) reactions to the events as they unfold.

If you are interested in acting technique applied to magic, the best start would be Henning Nelm's "Magic and Showmanship."

A friend of mine was directing a show at school that I was in. He was (I'd say too) fond of reminding us, "Don't act...be!" It's a very simple phrase, yet it describes what acting is all about - being.

-Jim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/30/01 11:24 AM

A new videotape just released by William Maclhany from films made by Mystic Craig has a segement showing Vernon performing on stage in 1960 at a Tannen Jubilee. He does the Coins and Champagne Glass and the Cone and Ball silently to music. This should give you an idea of what his stage performance was like.
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Postby Guest » 07/30/01 02:01 PM

The 'fourth wall' is a 'flexible' thing
The late, IMO great, UK playwright Alun Owen used the tradition very sucessfully in a superb play called "The Rose Affair" when he had one of his major characters step 'out of character' and address the audience directly!
This is surely a common occurence in 'modern', and not so modern, drama so why not use the principle in a 'magic' context?
Remember Shakespeare's use of 'The Prologue'....never forget the opening of Henry V!
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Postby Brian Marks » 07/30/01 06:35 PM

I think the best class anyone can take is an improvisation class. It teaches acting, creating characters and reacting to unexpected situations naturaly
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Postby Guest » 07/31/01 08:45 PM

Prepare for concurrance with Brian...

From my post in "Taken Seriously", Beginner's, General

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For fun I took an Improvisational Theater workshop and found it helped my magic so much I have continued with it. It has given me insights into interaction with audience, interaction with spectator assistants, and strengthened my story creating ability which has unleashed a presentational floodgate.

Because of all this my magic has become more alive...more real.

Keep in mind, "Magic is Theater"

Tom Cutts
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Postby Guest » 08/01/01 06:27 AM

Personal opinions:

*The 4TH wall is ONLY a technique used for beginners to help them overcome any embarrassment they may feel in front of an audience. Professional actors do not use it.

*Theatre is like magic; it has many different specialities, (realistic, abstract, physical-theatre, Katakaly etc). You need to find the one that suits you. The same is true with dance (ballet, contemporary, Jazz, etc..)

* To be considering theatre the minimum request is: one performer and one spectator. How can you forget him?!

*Do not forget there are good and bad actors.

If a magician sees a bad actor doing magic (normally very bad) they think combining magic and acting is bad. This is exactly like someone seeing a bad magician and thinking magic is crap.

*I am a magician I have always been a magician and I study different styles of theatre and dance to improve my magic.
There is a difference between the “actors” that study magic, and the magicians that study theatre.

*Magic and Showmanship is definitely at very good book, but if you think about it, the book is almost one hundred years old and is still the leading book in the subject - that is very sad.
Believe me, the rest of performing forms they do progress, if we do not, we are in danger of being out of reality.

*I hear many magicians talking about inter dialog, the idea is that just by thinking your face and body will react giving you the right expression. It is true BUT, if you body has not been trained to react, it will not express anything. You can think and feel a lot, but if you do not make people feel, then you are doing a mental masturbation. That is why training is important.

*Jerry Grotowski (one of my favourite theatrical influences) use to say something like
“The body of and actor (performer) it has to be like a violin perfectly tune so it can react and play our filings “.
In the society we live in, we have been trained to hide our emotions; it is considered vulnerable and weak. I think the correct theatrical training can help the magician to became more expressive and transmit more to the audience, and at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

*Recommended book: everything from Jerzy Grotowski and Eugenio Barba , especially Anthropology of Theatre. He studies different styles of performance from a variety of cultures and different periods of time and attempts to find what they have in common.
I am Sorry for my English (I am for Madrid Spain) and I hope that it is “andestandeblol” even if you think differently to me, because that is what make humans so special; we are unique, great minds do not think a like.
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Postby Eric DeCamps » 08/01/01 07:26 PM

Senor Rios:

I have just read you post and find it to be a wonderful and insightful post.

I do have a question though. Do you really feel that a magician should not break the 4th wall? Unlike a play most magic performances are directed to the assembled audience.
Would you mind expanding on this thought?

Thank you.

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Postby Guest » 08/02/01 01:41 PM

Estimado Eric

Sorry, maybe I did not express myself properly, and sometimes my writing can appear a little bit funny.

I personally think that any kind of performer (actors, dancers, magicians, politicians, etc) should never use the fourth wall.

The technique is only a psychological aid in the beginning for those that feel embarrassed or scared in front an audience. And also, specifically in theatre, depending on the learning method, if you are going to reveal very deep parts of your soul or humanity, the fourth wall can help you during the work-in-progress, but you should not do it during performances, otherwise the audience will find it difficult to receive what you are offering them.

My personal philosophy, as far as performing is concerned, is that you can do whatever you want, as long as you know what you are doing and why. For instance, if someone decides to use the fourth wall in a particular moment of the show, you should realize, that the communication with your audience at that moment is going to be completely different and probably a lot colder (you have just started to ignore them) than the communication you were having until that point. If that is what you want and you know why, do it! You may discover something new! Or it may be a disasteryou decide.

I hope my posts are not to long, and thank you for asking. I do not have the chance to talk with magicians about these things very often. As I am a professional magician I am always very busy trying to be busy, and enjoying my family : )

[ August 02, 2001: Message edited by: Richard Kaufman ]
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/02/01 04:29 PM

The fourth wall is something that occurs naturally when a play is presented. It is not something actors need to generally use ... it is not really a tool. It is a state of existence created by a group of people on a stage, who (for the most part) need to create a separate reality from those in the audience in order to generate some form of verisimilitude so the plot and emotions of the play can come alive--there needs to be some distance from the audinece in order for that to occur.
The 4th wall exists VERY rarely in close-up magic. Some of Slydini's extended pantomime pieces might qualify, since there is no interaction between performer and audience. The audience is merely an observer.
On stage, the 4th wall exists more often in cases like the vignettes performed by Copperfield such as "Voyuer" in the current show. This beautiful illusion exists only to be observed by the audiece: Copperfield and the two dancers are in their own world ... behind the 4th wall.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/01 08:44 PM

Two excellent books which will pay dividends roughly equal to those paid by Erdnase are...

1. Harold Clurman on Directing - obviously this is not primarily an acting text, but one on the practical construction of live theatre.

2. Practical Handbook for Actors - This is a slim book on practical technique for actors. Years ago, it was my textbook for Acting III for majors, and probably the most enlightening book on the subject i've seen. Rather than focusing on abstract techniques, It tells you specifically what to do in order to start acting, and stop "PERFORMING"...
:D
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/02/01 09:18 PM

Alfonso from your posting:
"I am a magician I have always been a magician and I study different styles of theatre and dance to improve my magic.
There is a difference between the “actors” that study magic, and the magicians that study theatre."

To be you must be an expert at BOTH. Not one studying then other.

Everyone should take an improv class, an normal acting class and a charcter class minimally.

Acting does not improve magic, it improves performance. In turn it leaves laymen with a much stronger impression of magic..even bad magic(I dont endorse bad magic or perform it) as they will leave entertained. Entertainment is the biggest trick of all.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 08/03/01 05:38 AM

I think there might be a conceptual misunderstanding here when referring to the fourth wall. I'll tell what it means to me and you guys please correct me if you think I'm wrong.
To start with, the 4th wall is nothing you really "use" or something that "happens", though some of you might be referring to "4th wall technique" in theatrical jargon, if such a term exists. Things become clearer to me if the 4th wall is broken or not broken, rather than used or not used.
It is broken when the performers acknowledge the existence of an audience in any way. If you talk to anyone in the audience you've broken it. If a spectator coughs and you look in their direction, you've broken it. In order not to break the wall, performers should act as if they were by themselves. In spoken magic acts of any kind, this is hardly possible.
Here is another aspect of wall-breaking that I have observed, closely related to staying in character. That's when the performer in a silent act acknowledges the music. In most, if not all, good musical acts, the performer doesn't appear to be listening to, or even acknowledge, the music. It's as if the music was set for his act afterwards. It looks as if you do your thing and the music happens to be there. An exception to this would be acts in which music itself is the theme. Acts to do with reeling and rocking or twisting and shouting or with musical instruments or anything musical. The same applies to singers. If they beat their foot to the music while waiting in silence, they've broken it. Having said that, to break the wall is not necessarily a mistake. It's a choice. It's only a mistake if you've chosen no to break it and you do.
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Postby Guest » 08/03/01 10:39 AM

Dear Richard, I think that there is not point on disagree, actually I have the impression that we are talking about different things all together; in fact it looks to me like if we are trying to apply the same name (the fourth wall) to two different thinks when probably they should have 2 different names.

What you are defining is when you perform and the audience is just watching and they do not feel watched back. That is not what I understood for forth wall, but it does not matter, as long you know what it means to you,

It is just a problem of terminology, that happens very often when we are dealing with abstract things that are difficult to define as they can not be seen or touched (inspiration, energy, communication, presence, talent, etc… ;).

It happens not only between magicians talking about theatre, also between actors talking about theatre, and dancers talking about dance.

In fact, as magicians we are very lucky to have hade a dedicated genius that loves magic, like Arturo de Ascanio (and he will always stay with as). His work will be translated to English very soon. One of the most important parts of his work is dedicated to standardising the terminology so things are more real and we all know what are we talking about, I think that may very good friend, and expert about Arturo de Ascanio work, Rafael Benatar will know how to explain this better than me.

Being honest, I personally think that the forth wall it is not a very important thing for magicians anyway. There are other skills that we can take from performing forms like:
Equilibrium
Opposite
Different energies
Movements
Quality of movement
Projection of movements
Project from different parts of the body
Contention
Space
Voice
Improvisation
Different improvisation methods
Lighting
Music
How to work with music
Timing
Tempo
Silence (I love silence)
Discipline
Rhythm
Different scenic spaces!!
Different ways of thinking!!
Different ways of create!!
Different ways of construct an act!!
Different ways of star and finish an act!!
More, more, I wont to learn more, because that gives me freedom of expression… GOD DAMN I LOVE MY JOB!!.. Oh, sorry I think I got too excited! :o

Rafael Benatar: Mayte(My wife, she is a performance artist) completely agree wit your definition of the forth wall, and she say hello to you.

[ August 08, 2001: Message edited by: Alfonso Rios ]
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Postby Guest » 08/03/01 01:24 PM

Alfonso has taken me back 35 years!!
He is provides an 'echo' of the words of my Drama Tutor, Dr Ambrose Marriot, from the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama!!
Thanks for the 'kickstart' Alfonso, you have reminded me of a very 'wise' man who, I'm ashamed to admit, I had almost forgotten!

[ August 03, 2001: Message edited by: Wallace B ]
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/03/01 07:02 PM

The problem with the world of magic is there is no strict training to become a magician. You buy a book or video and learn the tricks. Than by trial and error you learn to perform the tricks. Lectures and conventions are about the dealers room and lectures that teach tricks. There are few places to learn how to perform. That is 90% of what we do. We perform a trick with only the knowledge of the trick but no knowledge of how to act, move, speak or dealing with the audience. I believe we need to study other performance based arts in order to improve the performance of the tricks. This training should coincide with learning tricks.
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Postby Guest » 08/04/01 12:47 PM

I've just returned from the Fitch Workshop. It was an awesome experience I would highly recommend. Seven days in the beautiful Laurentian mountains about one hour north of Montreal.

The Workshop is headed by Bob Fitch and Ed Bordo. Both gentleman bring many years of professional, practical experience from stage, television and film to the Workshop. Each has their own expertise and they work together in flawless fashion.

Each day is spent in total immersion. Hatha Yoga begins each day at 8 AM. We finished each night at about midnight. We stayed together as a group for almost every minute of the day. There's not much time for phone calls etc. This brings a focus to the group that is one pointed.

We worked together as a group but the instruction is very personal and customized to meet you needs, weaknesses and strengths. The total experience to me was more than acting or voice classes...it was stagecraft designed specifically for magicians. The real solutions and rules that most of us just don't know.

Step One is to check your ego at the door and prepare to jump off a cliff. We embarked on an adventure where we tried many new things. Ed Bordo says it the best "Screw it...Just do it." This leap takes you as a performer into places you never new existed. You trust the coaching and go for it. All aspects of the stage are addressed. The lessons were very deep and applied to either close up or stage performance.

Each performer worked with the group on parts of their act. The act is analyzed by Bob and Ed. Then the entire group gets involved. New ideas flood to the performer from everyone. The benefits are enormous. I worked on two routines, one of which I thought had a hard coat of professional polish. I figured if they could fix this one, it would be a miracle. I found out the routine was maybe half way perfected. They didn't leave me hanging...everything I need to get there was revealed.

I don't want to get into the specifics of the Workshop, as many who read this may want to attend. You need to go in blind. I promise you this. You will come out highly motivated, energized, and for the first time have the blueprints on how to build your show to a quality that is rarely reached. I know my fellow attendees all agree. I hope to see you there one day.
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/04/01 05:21 PM

from Bob Kohler's post
<<I worked on two routines, one of which I thought had a hard coat of professional polish. I figured if they could fix this one, it would be a miracle. I found out the routine was maybe half way perfected.>>

As I said most magicians don't study theater which is what magic is...theater

[ August 04, 2001: Message edited by: Brian Marks ]
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Postby Guest » 08/05/01 03:53 PM

Brian. What do you understand for &#8220;theatre&#8221;?

Thank you Wallance
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/06/01 02:28 AM

theater is storytelling. not tricks
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/30/02 01:39 AM

Originally posted by Brian Marks:
theater is storytelling. not tricks
Brian, such minimal language does not help the folks who need to learn these ideas the most.

The idea of stories happening in a 'goldfish bowl' observed by an audience needs elaboration.

The process by which the audience is invited to imagine the places that are not by address made directly and indirectly (to other players) is a tool here. When folks have awareness of some of the current language like "fourth wall" without understanding that the stage set may have at most three walls leaves them more puzzled than knowlegable.

I agree that some experience in basic theater arts would be of use to all. There will be alot of pointless discussion using half understood terms so long as folks use the jargon instead of simply stating ideas and their application. The ideas themselves tend to be more closely associated with how we are human than how we are situated anyway. :)
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Brian Marks » 11/30/02 07:36 AM

1. the 4th wall divides the audience from whats happening on the stage. This way the audience is looking in on the action. If the performer/peformers are interacting with the audience, there is no 4th wall. Stand up comedy and magic tend not to have a 4th wall.

2. defining theater is a difficult question. whole books are written about the subject by more qualified people than me. A better question might be How can magicians particularly benefit from acting, stand up comedy and improv? Acting, at least the type I happen to be training in, is training me to be natural in an unnatural situation of performing a script for an audience. Improv teaches me about listening and making connections about my current performance and audience. Stand Up Comedy teaches me writing and taking risks. While I have taken several classes in stand up, most of what I do here is going out on my own and doing it. Its the closest thing to magic in terms that most people who do it dont "train" with teachers. Its a trial and error type of thing.
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 11/30/02 07:57 AM

Let me second the recommendation of "A Practical Handbook for the Actore." The first time I used that book's approach to prepare for a part in a play in college, I was nominated for an acting award. It's a fantastic book.

I have yet to have the pleasure of attending the Fitch workshop. It is definitely something I will do. In the meantime, I make a point of auditioning for and performing in a quality community theatre production every so often. Many of the people I meet and work with during these projects have significant professional experience. I cannot think of a more affordable and accessible place to get basic theatrical experience than in local community theatres.

JMT
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Postby Guest » 11/30/02 02:04 PM

I would like to chime in on this subject as it is one that interests me very much.
First to the original post about Vernon and "being natural". I think what Vernon meant is that we must take the context in which we perform or are performing and be natural in that environment. When he spoke about performing the champagne glass on stage he says it evolved because of his environment. Doing that trick exactly as Vernon teaches it up close would be a mistake. The actions do not suit your surroundings, so the actions must change for it to "be natural". When I am performing on the street I speak and move in a certain way when I work a [censored] party I speak and move entirely different. If I am on stage again another set of rules apply to how I perform. In each case (hopefully) my actions are natural. That being said I believe that good magic stage, close-up or any other form must be conversational. By that I mean the performer must connect with his/her audience. I think the audience must get a sense of who you are, even if who you are isn't really you.
I'll give you an example. When I worked at Walt Disney World I was hired to perfrom close-up magic in an English Pub, I had to perform with a British accent for obvious reasons. I could have just worked out the accent and once I figured out how to perform my tricks with it, never worked on it again. Instead I bought books about England studied the colloquialisms (sp?) and regional accents. I created an entire life for the character. Where I was born, where I lived, schools, hangouts, etc. Every aspect of the character was created. Why go to all that trouble when I was just there doing magic? I knew that I would inevitably be involved in a conversation with a real Brit and I had to be believable. Nothing could be left out of focus. My training in theater taught me that. Joe (Hi Joe!) made a wonderful suggestion about getting involved in community theater. Learn as much as you can and you won't go wrong.
By the way it all payed off, I did have a converstaion with a person from the town my character was from. I was sure she was going to expose me for being an actor.
We talked for almost an hour.
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Postby francismenotti » 11/30/02 05:34 PM

The fourth wall is something the audience creates, not something the performer creates. Especially in the TV/movie-crazed catatonic audiences of today, people are actively trying to be passive by constructing this barrier of psychological safety. A good entertainer (of any genre) will grab the audience out of their passive removed state and bring them to laughter, tears, amazement, fear, or wonder without ever having to directly address the affected parties. To "break down the fourth wall" does not necessarily require audience interaction. (Although, sometimes cleverly placed asides in a non-interactive act can create wonderful moments of humor. Shakespeare did it all the time.)

Bob Fitch is amazing to work with in many ways. On one viewing, he will get up and virtually do your act better than you can, in a better version of your own character, commenting on what parts need improving. If you can't work with him for financial or distance reasons, go to a nearby college and ask a theatre major for some direction. By having a director take a look at your work, you invite a new and fresh point of view that can help you convey your message (act) to the audience in a clearer manner. You may disagree with some of the direction; but stick it out and listen and try something new. You can always go back to what you were doing before.

By going to a "theatre coach" it doesn't mean you have to be "theatrical," whatever that means. It merely can no WILL help you with things like speaking clearly, projecting, holding the attention of a larger audience, standing up straight on stage, finding the best position for you on stage (downstage, upstage), finding the best way for you to enter the stage. (This could go on for pages.) All of these things will make your audience believe that you really are what you're trying to be: a magician.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 11/30/02 07:54 PM

I discovered Jerzy Grotowski almost 30 years ago. I just finished studying AN ACROBAT OF THE HEART by Stephen Wangh, which is a physical approach to acting, based on Grotowski's work.

I would love to see aspiring magicians spend more time figuring out how to make their presentations more physical; to use their entire body; to make their encounters with spectators more lucid, compelling, and dramatic--not just to TELL a story, but to bE the story.

Onward...

JR

P,S. This is the kind of thread we should have more frequently.
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Postby Guest » 12/01/02 04:04 PM

Dear John, I am only 30 , I discovered Grotowsky only 6 or 7 years ago. One of the targets in part of my work is to apply those concepts to some of my presentations; of course I had been criticised that some times people do not understand the story on my act (Like if I was trying to tell a story...) Some times I want people to feel, not to understand,
I know very few magicians that know Grotowsky, Only two, and now you three. Not a surprise when not even many actors know him. Magicians do the same mistake that non-magicians do with magic. Music is music, but you have many different stiles, magic is magic, but you have different stiles (close-up, stage....) and with theatre is the same, but many magicians think that there is only one theatre, normally the kind they have study, Text! any way. My teacher ,magic teacher, said to me; you can be ignorant, that is ok, you can be arrogant, that is ok, but is nothing worse that to be an ignorant-arrogant. I dont know why I mention this, I guess I like this quote.
I will try to find the book that you mention.
I hope we can be in touch
Best regards
Alfonso Rios
PS: apologies for my broken English, I do not have the time to check it more. J
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Postby Guest » 12/01/02 08:59 PM

This is a very interesting thread. I worked for two years with a traveling improvisational group in the seventies. We studied Grotowski intensively, as well as Viola Spolin. I highly, highly recommend Spolin's books Improvisation for the Theater and Theater Games for the Lone Actor. These not only give great exercises for developing acting technique, but are also fun to read and work from.

Theater is not always about telling a story. There are lots of role play and game play situations that can be created with the audience that especially apply to magic. Conflict and conflict resolution are also a part of both magic and theater that do not necessarily involve story.

Spolin's approach to theater through games and play is extremely relevant and helpful to both close-up and stage magic.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 12/01/02 10:51 PM

Originally posted by Whit Haydn:
This is a very interesting thread. I worked for two years with a traveling improvisational group in the seventies. We studied Grotowski intensively, as well as Viola Spolin. I highly, highly recommend Spolin's books Improvisation for the Theater and Theater Games for the Lone Actor. These not only give great exercises for developing acting technique, but are also fun to read and work from.
I agree -- Spolin's books are good. Also check out Keith Johnstone's books, "Impro" and "Impro for Storytellers." And I'll third the mention of "A Practical Handbook for the Actor"...really an excellent book that has helped me immensely.

-Jim
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 12/02/02 09:35 PM

[QUOTE] I would love to see aspiring magicians spend more time figuring out how to make their presentations more physical; to use their entire body; to make their encounters with spectators more lucid, compelling, and dramatic--not just to TELL a story, but to bE the story [QUOTE]

One thing that helps me is the inner dialogue.To make the magic better.
Not just thinking is this going to work or now I do a pass.When you think about the magic and not the tricks you come up with some amazing things ,like your movement is diffferent,ect..

But having a story in your magic. You have kind of this built-in misdirection? maybe there's another way of calling it.
But On the the Today show on July 4 they did a piece on movie making mistakes. Like in Matrix, you see the camera refected in the door handle and in Gladitor, a man in the forest is wearing blue jeans.
People don't notice this because they're engross in the story.So for us magicians the story has a built-in misdiection . The method they don't see because they're engross with the story.
I hope I'm making myself clear.
Andrew Martin Portala
 
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Postby Guest » 12/04/02 02:45 PM

What a great, and needed, thread!

After 15+ years as a professional actor, I decided to go into a career in magic for the job security.

No, really -- now that I'm considering this path, I'm finding that more and more I need a "story" or "plot" for my evening. But all this talk of walls is making me claustrophobic (Bah-domp-tss!). In the productions I was a part of, the 4th wall was just a technique used/referred to in order to create a "reality" within the play -- but we had to play through that wall to convey it to an audience.

Part of my acting training involved circles (go with me here):

1st: personal/private -- just the character, "I am."
2nd: shared with one other character, "you are."
3rd: shared with the entire audience, "we are."

Now, all of these are fine just as they are in rehearsal; however, in performance, ALL THREE become presentational -- a version of the 3rd circle. In performance, even a "personal, private thought" is to be presented in such a way that the audience can be effected.

In ...Virginia Woolf, George realizes that Martha broke the rules and talked about their child (1st circle)...we see his change in demeanor and know something sinister is afoot. He then verbally abuses Martha until she breaks down (2nd Circle) -- all this happens on a level that allows us, the play-going audience to observe it all and not have to ask the characters to speak up or explain what's happening.

Likewise, a magician can pretend he's bungled a trick in order to lull the audience into a succeptible state for a more stunning reveal, or have an "intimate" moment in order to create some romance.

If a magician really uses the 4th wall, what's to keep him from simply turning his back and not letting us see any of the tricks?

Sean

PS: my appologies for rampant use of " " and the pronoun "him" to mean "his/her."
Guest
 

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/04/02 03:28 PM

Originally posted by solgrundy:
What a great, and needed, thread!

After 15+ years as a professional actor, I decided to go into a career in magic for the job security.
Please, oh please stay in touch with this group. While magic is a meta craft, it has strong roots in the performing arts. It has many bad habits left over from long irellevant oral tradition passed on from vaudeville. What you have to offer is of great value to magicians.

Good luck leaning moves etc. Try not to get confused by the out-of-context stuff. The history of the effects should steer you clear of the antique political/social traps.

Please stay in touch -Jon
Mundus vult decipi
Jonathan Townsend
 
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