Last week was the first outing of the Briefcase show and it went pretty well. The whole show including the stands fit inside of the Pelican Briefcase. Here’s the show set up at the fair I was performing at last week:
The show uses a lot of three dimensional props, which is intentional. I think that a lot briefcase shows select material based on the prop being flat. Obviously that is a concern. But things like the applause sign, which is hollow can have things packed inside of it.
The whole show was done with me solo on stage, except for the second to last effect, which is a game show routine that uses three kids. I have a method for that routine that I haven’t tried yet, but probably should try so I know if it works or not.
I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hoping to somehow figure out how to expand it to a 40-45 minute show, which would be ideal.
It’s taken forever, but I’m getting to work on assembling a briefcase magic show. I dug out of the shed an old Pelican 1525 case that I bought for a specific gig a while ago, then used for my outdoor kid shows in the summer of 2020.
This case had a flange on the bottom, and I took that off. It used to have a bunch of custom 3d printed holders in it, but I took them out when I started using the case for the kid shows. I did leave my Sharpie holder in the case. This is a pretty creative solution to keeping pens easily accessible. The yellow holder has magnets in it, and so do the pens. They will pretty securely in the holder, but are easy to reach in and remove.
I’m starting to play with the layout of things in the case:
I have to make some choices, like using poker size cards, or moving up to parlour or jumbo sized cards. I think that choice will end up being made for me by what props/routines end up in the show. -Louie
One of my least favorite tropes in magic ads is “packs flat and plays big“. I don’t like it because you should be selecting material that is right for your show, not right for the size of a case that fits under the seat of an airplane. I had a saying, “fits my artistic vision and packs as small as it can“. Some props are simply large and there’s no realistic way to make them any smaller. If that big prop is part of your art, then lug it around.
In the past, for a specific gig I needed a “briefcase magic show” that I could carry onto an airplane and when I got to the gig all I had to do was open the case and it was good to go. It worked for that gig, and I used it for a few more gigs. What I didn’t like was a lot of the material was selected for its size and lack of set up at the show. I wasn’t picking tricks because they were best for the show, but best for the travel and set up.
One of the things I want to work on right now is making a briefcase magic show that can live in the trunk of my car and has minimal set up when I arrive at the gig. I’m going to start the show length at 30 mins and hopefully work it up to 45 mins. The goal is for the show to have some texture. Most of the pack flat, play big shows I’ve seen lack texture. Most of the props are flat cards, and the show (to me) feels flat.
The other goal for the show would be something that could play in a black box theater, so up to about 100 people, and could be done with just a handheld microphone. That would allow me to not have to bring audio and spend time setting it up. I’m hoping for a 5 min set up and 5 min take down.