Lately I’ve been thinking about my stage show, and what it will look like when venues reopen. The obvious thing is that most bits that use someone from the audience are going to have to be cut, or completely reworked. With keeping a six foot gap between you and the person helping onstage, really limits interaction with them.
A bit I was thinking about doing was having props that they use at the front of the stage. For example there would be a pen and a pad of paper and you ask someone to draw a picture. However to keep it clean, you’d have a box of gloves on the front of the stage. Now someone from the audience can perform simple tasks and do it in a safe manner.
The bit is that when they go to put on the gloves, you ask every person to do it in a different way. You could have someone put on gloves like a cowboy, and other do it like a Spanish bullfighters. Of course you’d have music or audio to back up these suggestions. I think that makes someone putting on gloves a little more exciting and opens it up to a fun moment.
When I had six weeks of work cancel, I decided I was going to grow out my facial hair until my next paid show. Unfortunately that happened the other night, and I’ll never know what my full quarantine mustache could have been. The plus side is that I did a paid gig!
At the time the show was booked, it was a 10 min spot in a cabaret show with the audience’s chairs spaced out to meet “social distancing guidelines”. Then my county added restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people and an audience wasn’t a viable option. The producer adapted and decided to do a streaming show, so we performed live at the venue for people who watched online. Then the state added more restrictions and the hosts of the show did their part live at the venue and all the performers did their acts from home, and they were prerecorded.
The nice thing about recording my set is that I could do it twice and take the better version. I cheated it a little bit and recorded each run through with two cameras, so that using camera changes I could mix the two recordings.
The downside of recording a set by yourself is there’s no audience feedback. It’s very strange, and I think I could get used to it, but it would be my last choice in ways to perform. You either end up plowing through material, or taking long pauses that are awkward.
If I had more time to plan, and not a day to shift from a venue to the corner of my office with a backdrop thrown up, I would have approached it a bit differently. I probably would have dusted off the cups and balls and done that in my set. That’s a 5 min set that doesn’t need audience interaction. I would also have planned some more visual quick things that aren’t as good in a live setting, but work on video.
Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and … Continue reading “Social Distance Magic”
Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and innovating.
Right now as a performer you don’t have control over attendance caps on events or the venue being able to sanitize it, so let’s look at something we can control, close up magic. Right now no one wants to touch anything. Everything is getting wiped down and people are constantly sanitizing. It’s gotta be a hard time for a close up magician. One of the advantages is that people can touch the props and the magic happens in their hands.
Currently having someone hold sponge balls isn’t socially acceptable, I’d argue it hasn’t been for a while as they are full of germs. Even if you wash them every night, they are gross by the time the second person holds them. Sponge balls are crutch for lazy close up performers. It’s easy for a beginner to get a reaction with them, and I’ll admit it’s a good trick. If you took it out of your close up set, would people like your act the same?
I’m looking at my close up show and thinking about what I can do without people touching anything. I don’t do sponge balls, or sponge anything, so that’s no problem. My ambitious card routine (technically a multiple revelation) needs one bit cut out of it, which is the card to mouth phase. This is a bit I started to get uncomfortable with a few years ago, and this is what I need to force me to take it out. My linking pins routine has two in the hands phases, however those are newer additions to the routine, and I can revert to the old routine which is almost as strong as the current one. The shell game,and cup and dice routine all can be done without people touching anything.
Look at your close up show, can you do it in our current climate of “social distancing”?