Dramatic Magic?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Guest » 02/12/03 04:09 PM

What are your thoughts on magic as a suport to a theatrical performance? I'm thinking about writing a play based on the idea that T Nelson Downs actualy did have real magic, but no one believed him, so he went into performance. Kinda of a "looking back right before his first performance" kind of deal.

The first scene goes sorta like this:
[Enter Downs, from audience, performing Miser's Dream. Downs is wearing a nigth gown with a top had in his hands, absently plucking coins out of the air, whistling to himself. Downs walks down aisle and finally onto the stage. He then notices the audience and turns.]
Downs: Oh. Hello there! What are you doing here? Isn't it a bit late to be wondering around? Oh. You wnat to know what I'm doing. Okay. Well, what if magic was real? That you could pluck coins out of the air, like so? What would that be like? Well, I can tell you, from experience...

Postby MaxNY » 02/13/03 06:01 AM

In order for you to have "real magic" as a plot, you would probably have to have either money or death involved.
---What about a love interest? How would she get involved? She loves something that money can't buy. Is there anything that money can't buy? Tell us more about the plot...
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Postby Guest » 02/13/03 10:46 AM

You might want to check out Woody Allen's "The Floating Light Bulb" which is kind of bittersweet and sad.

Or Steve Martin's magic plays "The Zig-Zag Woman," and "Patter for a Floating Lady."

From a review: "The Zig-Zag Woman concerns a woman so desperate to find affection that, with the help of a magic trick, she appears to divide her body into three parts. In Patter for the Floating Lady, a magician plans to levitate his assistant in order to give her what he could not give her when they were together: freedom."


Postby Pete McCabe » 02/13/03 12:01 PM

In Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, protagonist Valentine Michael Smith has genuine magic powers, which he uses to make money as a magician. Unfortunately, he's not that good a performer, so he has limited success.

An interesting lesson for magicians everywhere, whether they actually have magic powers or not.

Speaking of dramatic magic, the second to last episode of The Bernie Mac Show had Bernie's nephew Jordan doing a slush-powder effect to extremely dramatic effect. The current episode is all about Jordan's fascination with magic, and guest stars Penn and Teller.

Larry Wilmore, who created the show, is a regular at the Castle and an excellent card handler.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 02/13/03 06:27 PM

I stumbled onto that (current) Bernie Mac show last night, in fact.

It was very interesting. It treated magic with respect, and yet at the same time poked a bit of fun at it (as you'd expect, with P&T as guests).

The kid was trying to impress a girl, so he used magic. What was surprising was that the magic the young lad did was actually quite good, and probably really would have impressed the girl.
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Postby sleightly » 02/13/03 06:30 PM

Don't forget Paul Gallico's The Man Who Was Magic, a wonderful story about innocence and truth at odds with accepted mores.

The novel (novella?) also provides wonderful insight into the necessity for presentational context, which I believe to be the hurdle to jump. How do you manipulate audiences in such a way that they are actively engaged in establishing the "story," yet let them sit back and enjoy it?

It is the difference between demonstrative magic and illustrative magic.


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