I'm not sure why you are so convinced that this material is not possible live...here are practical methods for two of the pieces that you claim can only be done through stooges/camera tricks/extensive editing...I offer these merely as illustrations of the possibility
of this material -- and do not claim that these are Criss' actual methods, nor am I interested in Criss' actual methods...I would also never dream of performing this material -- it belongs to Criss
that said...and off the top of my head...
the ice cube:
The pull described by Bob Cassidy in the context of "The Quarter Bend" on page 232 of The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy
is ideal. A duplicate ring is attached to this pull. The spectator's ring is switched for this duplicate. During the build-up to the vanish, the left hand has eons to load the ring into a cube in the left jacket pocket.
The particular method of preparing the cube would require a lot of experimentation. My basic idea would be to have the cube cut in half and, with a dremel tool, carve out a ring in each half. Some kind of adhesive may be necessary to hold the halves together in the drink following the load. In the pocket the ring is placed in the groove and the halves are closed. This would take 1-2 seconds.
The loaded ring is then loaded into the glass in the action of moving it to give the spectators a clearer view of the vanish...the method is over before the vanish is revealed...
or, even more practically:
a simple gold band is frozen into the cube...it can be loaded into the cup at any time during the performance...borrow a simple gold band...it is vanished...reveal the ring in the cube and have the spectator verbally confirm that the ring in the cube is hers (she gave you a gold band...she's looking at a gold band distorted by the ice...she's also assuming that, if it wasn't her ring, there is no way that you would be asking her the question)...the cube is broken open and, after a motivated and well-choreographed switch, her ring is returned...
a butterfly is enfolded in a napkin or tissue in the pocket...this is stolen while the spectator drawing on the napkin....while holding out the loaded napkin, the spectator's napkin is folded in the same way...the loaded napkin is loaded onto the spectator's napkin as the right hand covers the left...all that is left is the reveal...there may be some sort of pre-show involved in the selection of the butterfly as the image -- but I don't see anything wrong with that...
the bottom line is this, because you see no other method than editing, camera tricks, or collusion (and I don't have any problem with these tools when they are used intelligently) does not mean that there is no other method
this does raise an interesting issue...
I'm joe normal watching this show with my family...I see "trashed"...Criss eliminates the possibility of a trap door by pointing out that he's doing it on a cement sidewalk...Criss eliminates the possibility that he is getting out of the trash can by crawling out on another side by having spectators hold on to the can on all sides...I can see over the trash can so I know that he can't get out the top...how else could he get out?
There is one more obvious solution that hasn't been completely eliminated: every one is in on it and it is a cheap editing trick..
the authenticity and spontaneity of the people on the street really goes a long way to convincing the audience that the whole thing is above board...but I am reminded of a story about Faucett Ross...Ross was performing a signed coin in ball of wool routine at a fair...the routine reached its conclusion and Ross asked the man on stage who signed the coin to confirm his signature...the man told the audience that it wasn't the same coin! Ross was in shock...he later approached the man to ask why he had lied...the man said, and I am paraphrasing John Carney's retelling of the story in Genii
, "look, I am an educated man, I know
there is no way that that could be the same coin!"
This is an extreme case, but it points to a set of general truths:
- If you eliminate every solution except for one, no matter how absurd or obvious it is, there is a certain percentage of your audience that will be convinced that it is the correct solution.
- the strength of the conditions that you set up to eliminate or mitigate the possibility of that solution diminish as the spectators become convinced of the impossibility of any other method. i.e. the more that the guy at the fair is convinced that there is no other way for his coin to seem to be in a ball of wool on the other side of the stage, the less it matters to him that the coin is signed...even if this isn't rational
This is what makes magic on television so difficult: there is always one obvious solution that is extremely difficult to eliminate
Were I involved in this project, and it were practical, I would have lobbied for "Trashed" not to have been on Mindfreak
itself...if the method allowed and it was realistic to get the booking, I would have lobbied to get Criss on "The Today Show" and to do it live for the crowds outside "The Today Show" studio...you would get much more credibility because journalists are watching and because it is live...this also could have been incorporated into Mindfreak
-- seeing Criss prepare for "The Today Show" would have been an interesting contribution to the Reality TV grain of the show...
I should be clear that I'm not saying "this is what these guys should have done"...I have no idea what kind of limitations are involved in this work...I'm just trying to explore the issues around magic on television and productively think about how its impact can be maximized
congratulations to all involved on a very strong product