Paul Gertner's ''Ten Fingers, A Play of Magic''

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Postby Geno Munari » 01/22/02 06:51 PM

I am anxious to hear about Paul Gertner's one man show,''Ten Fingers, A Play of Magic'' . Anybody have a chance to see it? I wish I would have heard about it sooner, I would have like to see Paul. Hope it was a success.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/02 08:56 PM

I saw Paul's play at the IBM convention in Buffalo a few years ago.
It was quite good as an interesting way of presenting magic, but less successful as a play.
Paul has since spent time with Bob Fitch to hone his performance, and I trust his acting has improved.
It's a hellishly difficult thing to be a professional performer for decades and then try to change your entire manner with an acting coach. You have to give Paul a lot of credit.
I think you'd enjoy the play.
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Postby Paul Green » 01/22/02 09:08 PM

RK wrote:

"It's a hellishly difficult thing to be a professional performer for decades and then try to change your entire manner with an acting coach. You have to give Paul a lot of credit."

You are certainly correct, Richard. I would also add that it is a very brave thing to do too. Paul, and all of the other Fitch participants, have to let go of their performers' egoes and build new pathways. According to all of the reports, everyone seems to feel that they have grown as performers.

Regards,

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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/23/02 01:56 PM

I saw Paul's show in Pittsburgh when it opened and subsequently reviewed it for MAGIC magazine. At the time, I thought that the show was remarkably successful, particularly when judged by how the audience reacted and how the "material" resonated after the show was over. Before I saw the show, I was skeptical as to HOW Paul was going to integrate his trade-show repertoire AND persona into a theatrical show with two 40-minute acts. With the help of a good director and his own inherent savvy, he was, however, able to accomplish MOST of his goals. In any case, he was still a "fish out of familiar waters." His talent and skill permitted existing weak spots and shortcomings to go unnoticed.

Studying with Bob Fitch (as Mark Phillips, Bob Sheets (twice), Bill Malone, and others have done) is a giant step in altering and expanding one's ingrained "mind-set" regarding performance. As most of you know, magicians respond to many kinds of stimuli and variables that are significantly different from the ones ACTORS deal with on a regular basis. Without trying to over-simplify matters too much, the biggest obstacle for magicians IMHO is learning how to THINK and PRIORITIZE in new ways. This requires "re-programming" your central nervous system and re-building your "automatic pilot" so that you can accomodate these new ways of THINKING and INTERPRETING.

What often happens at the outset of this "re-programming" process is that the student tends to over-rehearse and fails to stay "in the moment" in inventive and acceptable ways. A sense of spontaneity, although it's usually very subtle, is affected and one's performance then becomes somewhat stilted and calculated.

Although I may have imagined it, when I saw Paul's performance (after Fitch) at the MAGIC EVENT, it was not as effortless and pure as his performance of the same material in Pittsburgh.

Even Tom Mullica confesses that it took hundreds of performances before he felt comfortable in the role he was trying to play...

Obvious, Bottom Line: I think that every aspiring magician would profit by having some sort of theatrical training--the more, the better. Of course, considering the kind and quality of the participants on this Forum, I'm no doubt "preaching to the choir," heavenly or otherwise.

Onward...

[ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Jon Racherbaumer ]

[ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Jon Racherbaumer ]
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/23/02 10:30 PM

What Jon says is true: Gertner's performance at MAGIC Live in Las Vegas was not up to form, but that is to be expected when you have just wrenched around your entire manner of thinking about what you're doing.
Paul was in the middle of a process at the time we saw him in Las Vegas, and was off-kilter. It can take years to reach the end of the process!
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Postby Guest » 01/26/02 11:20 AM

Paul Gertner was in Rhinebeck, NY for a four day run of "Ten Fingers" earlier this month. After seeing the show, I have to agree with Richard's comments. The magic was first rate, as I expected, but as a piece of theater, "Ten Fingers" needs work. First of all, I don't understand the title or how "Ten Fingers" related to the show. I suggested to Bob Fitch, who was there, that Paul needs to decide if this is a play about a) the history of magic, or b) the Paul Gertner story. The juxtaposition of the two acts - first, Paul's kitchen, then (for lack of a better description) "the corporate boardroom" was an interesting contrast, but it was unclear how they were related. Is the show "Flashdance With Magic", i.e. blue collar magician makes it big in corporate world? The script lacks a unifying theme and dramatic conflict. I would have liked to see a script with a "hero's journey" theme. All that said, I must say that I loved the magic and that the lay audience was so amazed that I doubt they noticed the dramatic flaws with the play.
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