Stage Costume for Manipulator

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Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 14th, 2007, 2:21 pm

Hello fellow magicians,

A general question for anyone who does stage manipulation kind of magic. I have started a few months back putting together an act for stage manipulation. My act revolves around masks, silks, cards, and roses. I've hit a bump along the roard. I can't seem to find the right costume to go along with what I'm trying to do. I don't want to go for the traditional tuxedo, or full suite and tie look, and this is not a dove act, so I don't need a professioal dove worker vest/jacket either. What I do want is a more modern look, and for lack of better word, "darker" look. As for the whole atmosphere and music I'm going for my act is the mysterious type. If anyone can suggest a place where I can purchase a costume that would fit this theme, or know anyone who does special tailoring for magicians, that would be greatly appreciated! I hope this question does not come off too werid or strange. I am open to any opinions or suggestions.

Thanks for reading.


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 14th, 2007, 3:24 pm

Since you are going for a "darker" look, have you considered if the "Matrix" style, i.e., a long, dark jacket, boots, etc might fit with your stage persona? This type of jacket could really help facilitate some of your loads, etc. as well as it flows nicely during stage movements.


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 16th, 2007, 9:28 pm

For what it's worth, I think Randy's idea is a good one. Indeed, you can buy the coat directly from Warner Bros...see here: ... e-Set.html

If this works for you, but the coat isn't of sufficient quality, a good tailor can take it apart and use it as a pattern.

They also have a Trinity outfit if you want to keep the theme with your assistant.


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 17th, 2007, 4:13 am

Costume can convey character and setting. What are yours?

What do the masks, cards, silks and such have to do with you, and eachother?

What effect (if any) do the masks have on your character?

For example,

Dressed as a priest, donning the mask of a devil makes a certain statement.

Dressed as a policeman, a robot mask does, as well.

Dressed as a "generic magician" doing standard magic with silks and cards, but with a blank, featureless face also makes a point.

If you've got no idea why you're doing what you're doing, you could always paint yourself blue and hope people think it's "art".


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 17th, 2007, 5:51 pm

Social commentary and dis'in the Blue Man Group all in one post?

Too hip for the room Curtis...



Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 19th, 2007, 4:17 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions!

I do like the Matrix look idea. In fact, I bought the Neo trench coat a few years back for a Halloween party. However, I'm afraid with this kind of coat on stage, it will be hard to move around due to the length of the coat, and hard to produce the loads, as there are no openings from the outside (buttons run all the way to the bottom of the coat), or extra pockets on the inside of the coat. I can try to get this tailored to my needs, but these requirements can be tricky to explain, and the material of the coat itself is pretty cheap to work with.

Excellent questions. I had put some serious thoughts into most of the questions you have posted from the very beginning. I am creating my act to revolve around 2 phases. The reason I will have the mask, is that I want to portray this creepy and strange being, possessed by the mask, and finding all these bizarre things happening around him, where silks and masks will appear apparently from nowhere. The second phase is where I want to have this more modern appeal, and faster pace with the production of cards and roses. Like I mentioned originally, this whole act should have this dark feel or atmosphere all around. This is something I want to stay consistent with in general, and not jump from character to character. So finally this brings me to my search, for a costume to fit this role/character that I am trying to create.

Anyway, thanks again everyone for reading, and please feel free to add on to the thread.


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » June 20th, 2007, 2:47 am

That's a good start, but you could still go in a lot of different directions from what you've described.

For me, "possesed by the mask" means that the mask causes an otherwise normal person to be creepy and strange. I like that, because the audience can relate to a normal person in a strange circumstance. So maybe you should dress "normal". If you dress "scary" and wear a scary mask, you run the risk of looking cliche. We've all seen a ton of movies where millions were spent to make a scary monster scary. You don't have that sort of budget, and besides, we've already seen it.

Imagine a person dressed like a stagehand who just happens to find a mask.

Or a "volunteer" from the audience who is possessed.

I'm suggesting contrast to establish character. Maybe not a clown with a demon mask (it's been done) but suppose you had a presidential blue business suit and the face of Chtulu.

As to the second half, I hear two different things. You want a change to something more "modern", but you still want the same atmosphere. I assume you mean that the magic will come faster, with stronger movements and effects?

But cards and roses? Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything especially creepy, strange or dark about either. Sure they can be made to play that way, but then we're back talking about context and character again.


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » July 19th, 2007, 8:33 am

Well, if you wanted to do a mask posetion what you could do is something like this. I would use an extremlysimple white mask. maybe with a few black lines coming from around the eyes. It is amazing how creepy something so simple can be. Here is how I saw it.

I would come out. Have everything together as far as costuem goes. Everything but the mask. Have some clasical music playing or something kind of light hearted. Do something simple but have it fail. Have something like a ball or something random fall from your sleves. Act really embarased. As you kneel down to pick it up have a stage hand come out hold a black box. Pretend to have some sort of dialog with him. then it becomes and argument. You loose and get stuck with the box. You open it up. The music, while still happy and easy going takes a sleight turn to the dark side. You pull the mask out when the music changes. Hold it in you right hand at about eye level. Try and walk away but don't move the mask. It wont budge. This will take some mime to pul off well. Look at the mask and as soon as you put it on the music drasticly changes to something obviously dark. For an additional touch you could produce smoke from the mouth as you look up to face the audience.

If you really wanted to push the envelop, have someone on the stage in a traditional tuxedo doing something like talking to the audience. H is talking about how masks have strange powers of spirits. He looks around the audience for a volenteer. He brings you up on stage. You were until now seated in the audience. He hands you the mask and as you put it one you go into something and he gets scared and runs off stage.

Anything with fire wil play the role up alot. I think for creepy contrast is your friend. That is why I suggested the white mask. Things without emotion play to something instinctive in people. It is a face that shows nothing. It is ghostly face, the face of a corpes. I agree with Curtis. I am not eactly sure how you are going to do creepy cards and roses. I think that you would like Jeff McBrides Masks. Though I am sure you have seen it a hundred times. Wathcit again and pay close attention to each mask and its' individual persona. How does Jeff make that come out? Does the music add to it? Is he acting a certain way?


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » July 20th, 2007, 1:54 pm

Whoa...some pretty wild ideas there. Thanks for all the great suggestions. For the mask, what you have mentioned (white mask, something simple) is exactly what I've been looking into. Here is a link of the type of mask I'm looking into: ... joey-mask/
Or as you have mentioned just a simple white mask will do as well. ... male-mask/

You brought up the name Jeff McBride, I think he is an awesome performer, and an excellent stage actor. I love his work, but I definitely don't want to mimic his act in any way, only to draw inspirations from. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I want the act to be 2 phases, so I am not relying on the mask for the entire act. The second phase, which is when I want to switch gear a bit, to a faster pace, and that is when I plan on bringing out the cards and roses. So these elements have nothing to do with the creepy feeling I am trying to create in the first phase. As far as music goes, it's still work in progress, as I need to find the right piece to fit each phase. However, the problem comes now, which still stands in my original post, finding the right costume. Which I think it's one of the most important things in an act. Since this is the first thing the audience is going to see, you have to make the impression that you want to make. Finding a tailor for this kind of occasion is a real pain. :confused:
Still trying to get over this bump...

Thanks for all the input and help!!!


Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby Guest » July 20th, 2007, 9:32 pm

If you are not a music person then this will probably mean nothing to you but I would find a Waltz in either F major or in a minor key. I think I know the feeling you are trying to give. A sort of Gothic mystisism. I am not talking about the raging adolesent Goth but the traditional Catholic monisatry sort of thing. Right?

Sorry the explanations were so long. My Mom was a Theater Major in college. That comes in handy when I am planning.

Point number two. I think that the jump from creepy to the normal second phase isn't going to transition. It is important to stay in charater. The most furstarting thing in a movie or any sort of plot is when someone beleived to be an antagonist and acts like on, turns and becomes an ally on an apparent whim. I think the plot of the production should remain consistent.

liam a. black
Posts: 5
Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 9:05 am

Re: Stage Costume for Manipulator

Postby liam a. black » November 14th, 2009, 3:15 pm

have a look at masquerade from the phantom of the opera?

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