Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

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Tom Stone
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Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Tom Stone » August 22nd, 2018, 4:04 pm

Those with good memory might remember a piece titled ”Of Dice and Men” that I published in my Genii column in October 2009 - it was a rather dark and funny stage/parlor piece that was inspired by the combo of a rather horrid relationship I once had and Andy Nyman’s close-up trick ”Diceman”. That issue was a Jinx special, so I thought it fitted well.
I later republished it in my 2011 book Maelstrom.

It has since then become what I think you can call "a modern classic". Rob Zabrecky, Barry and Stuart, Justin Willman and many others with good taste in material have made good use of it. :-)

I mention all this because just a few hours ago, Vanishing Inc released it as a product. Well made, with cards that are nearly indestructible.

https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic ... e-and-men/

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Pete McCabe » August 24th, 2018, 10:58 am

Several well-respected (by me) magicians were seen walking out of the Vanishing Inc booth at Magic Live with one of these. A true classic routine. I have by now seen this performed several times at the Castle and it has always gotten a huge response. I just wish I could perform it for my middle school kids!

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Doug Thornton » August 25th, 2018, 12:47 am

Pete, can't this be modified? For example, "High Five" and "Detention."
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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Bill Mullins » August 25th, 2018, 1:15 am

Or tell the students that grades based on merit are so passe', and now the students will roll for them. The student rolls, gets an "A", and all the other cards show "FLUNK".

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby erdnasephile » August 25th, 2018, 9:45 am

IMHO, one of the huge advances of Tom Stone's trick over the original Andy Nyman plot is that the sting is revealed during the very act the spectator has "won".

The "High Five" Doug proposed has potential in this respect. Maybe some form of "Dap Greeting" would also work?

A "side hug" might fly, but I can't think of any other haptic communication that would 1) naturally expose the sting and 2) wouldn't get a teacher potentially in trouble.

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 25th, 2018, 12:18 pm

We are at the point in our society when a "hug" can be seen as an act of sexual aggression over which a job can be lost and a reputation ruined.

Therefore, this is a routine that you perform at your peril.

When you hug the spectator (male or female), he or she can claim all sorts of things happened that might not be in view of the rest of the audience (e.g., you hugged her so tightly that she felt her breasts were being rubbed against your chest in an unseemly way, or you whispered something "naughty" in his or her ear, or you pressed your groin against him/her and Mr. Johnson was having a enthusiastic moment).

That's sad because this is a routine of great genius.
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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Jim Martin » August 25th, 2018, 12:21 pm

erdnasephile wrote: Maybe some form of "Dap Greeting" would also work?

A "side hug" might fly, but I can't think of any other haptic communication that would 1) naturally expose the sting and 2) wouldn't get a teacher potentially in trouble.

For many audiences, Tom's original is perfect.
Another option to echo erndasefile's idea might be "Fist Bump"/"Karate Chop".
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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Pete McCabe » August 25th, 2018, 9:44 pm

I appreciate the suggestions. I'm with Erdnaseophile—it has to be something revealed in a natural gesture.

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Tom Stone » August 26th, 2018, 1:55 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:We are at the point in our society when a "hug" can be seen as an act of sexual aggression over which a job can be lost and a reputation ruined.

Therefore, this is a routine that you perform at your peril.


Those reactions can real, or made up for attention. Not much can be done about the latter, so let's focus on the former.
If real, it might be uncalled for, or it might be actual sexual aggression involved. Again, I can't do much about the latter...

It is true that you don't get a tutorial in how to select a person to participate, and there are no good texts on that topic (something that perhaps needs to be written). If you get someone with social fears or anxieties, things went wrong long before the routine was introduced.
And if you happen to be socially inept yourself, this routine isn't a cure for that either - it's purpose is not to provide you with hugs. I.e. if you look for a 'hot' girl or guy to use in this routine, you're coming at it from the wrong angle and it will eventually backfire. People are not objects to be used. You look for a participant. Someone who will participate as a co-actor in your mini-drama. So look at the people, really look. If they don't meet your gaze, they don't want to participate. If they don't meet your gaze with a small smile, they don't want to participate. You want someone who seem a bit playful and comfortable. If you don't see a woman that fits the bill, pick a guy that fits the bill. Because the piece isn't about heterosexual dynamics, it is about a surprise meeting with darkness. If it feels awkward to hug a dude, then play it for its awkwardness, and it will be funnier than to hug someone who clearly doesn't want to participate.

Let's say a willing participant have emerged. Things might still go wrong. Your supporting actor can become offput if you have an abrasive demeanor, or if you treat your supporting actor as an object, or if you've done innuendo "humor" since the 1970's and have missed that the interpretation that formerly was the alternative one, today is the main one. So look at the person as a person.

The "Hug" card is shown. You open your arms a little and ask "Is it ok?". You wait for a reply, making it clear that a 'no' is an acceptable answer. Once there is consent, conclude the bit. Time the hug to be done in the participant's pace, and let the participant choose how close the hug is.
So what happens if the spectator says "no"? Well, then that becomes the piece, because that's funny too. You standing there, arms slightly apart with a frozen smile and an vacant gaze. Hilarious! Sure, there's suddenly no trick, but you haven't promised a trick.

While the borderline knife-edge balance between intimacy and destruction is strikingly portraited in the image of a hug with a "Kill, kill, kill" subtitle, it is certainly not the only way to play it. Once you're familiar with the structure, other alternatives can be built. In my opinion, they will all be lacking something, but still...

The structure is:
1: The spectator picks (A) - an object, activity or event that is positive for the performer.
2: There's a little pause, to give the audience time to suspect that maybe all the cards say (A), that all the cards are the same.
3: In carrying out (A), the audience finds out that, yes, all the cards are the same, but they all say (B) - an activity or event that would be negative for the spectator.
4: The spectator never finds out.

For example, as a reward after assisting, a kid is allowed to choose a snack randomly. But in doing so, you hint that you're a cheapskate that doesn't really want to give away any expensive candy.
The kid picks "Apple".
All the alternatives turns out to be "Spinach".
No hugs involved.

That's sad because this is a routine of great genius.

There's that word again. I don't believe in that word.

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Re: Of Dice and Men (the Hug/Kill trick) by Tom Stone

Postby Bill Duncan » August 26th, 2018, 10:14 pm

Not having performed the effect, I can speak with authority, but it seems to me that you could reveal the sting while extending your arms in expectation of a hug.

Should the assisting spectator step towards you for the embrace you could turn away allowing that person to see all the KILL cards, and get a second laugh when they realized that they had dodged a bullet.


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