Great Tricks Suck on Low Stages…

A couple of weeks ago I was at a booking conference and one of the acts did Bowl-A-Rama by Kevin James. If you aren’t familiar with the trick, it’s a bowling ball production from a sketch pad. Here’s what it looks like:

This is a great trick…usually. Here’s a picture of the guy I saw doing it:

Do you see the problem with doing it in this venue?

If you can’t spot the problem, here’s what it is: The stage is very low
The production of the bowling ball happened below the guy’s waist, which means most of the audience couldn’t see it. This was his opening effect and totally wasted on the audience.

I don’t fault the performer. He was flying in to do a showcase set and probably only packed his showcase set. Replacing the bit probably wasn’t an option for this specific bit.

One thing I try to do is watch shows from the back of the audience. Another way to do this is put a video camera in the back, but at eye level as if you were sitting in a chair. If you pay attention you will see what’s visible and what isn’t. For me, I try to avoid anything where the action happens below my waist.