Using Light to add Punctuation

While in Arizona last week I visited Organ Stop Pizza and I wrote a little bit about it yesterday. Today I’m writing about something else that I noticed with performance. In many of the songs the organist played, there was lighting changes:

The room was normally dark, and when he got towards ends of song and it had a big ending, he would lighten up the room for the finale, then darken it at the end. While these songs were songs that had more exciting endings, the lighting change end really signaled the crowd to clap and cheer louder.

This is a technique used in many theater shows, sometimes ending the trick with a blackout. I’m sure there’s a name for it in theater terms, I just don’t know it. However it’s a way to signal the end of a trick or routine that may have less off a definite and hard punctuation at the end.

The organist used the lighting very deliberately and very effectively. Personally I’m a pretty basic lighting guy, and that’s probably because I came out of stand up comedy rooms, and not theaters. However it’s something I would like to explore more.


Stinger Music

Today I was messing around with adding stinger music to trick that didn’t get the final reaction I wanted. Stinger music is a short, usually upbeat musical tag that’s used to punctuate the end of a trick. I was really surprised at the effect it had on the trick. It took the trick from a mild response (much less than I thought it deserved) to a good response.

The two places I put it, one in a magic trick and one in a mentalism trick worked out great. The mentalism trick was where I think it really needs it, the effect is there, but it lingers in the audience’s heads. I need something to snap it out of their heads, and this may be the way.

Now for me the trick is to make it make sense. I don’t want to just blast music at the end of the trick. I think there needs to be music leading up to the stinger. This isn’t much of a problem, I just need to find music with lyrics that I can talk over.

I’m hoping to add a little bit more theatrical / production elements to the show. I’m trying to “level up” my show a little bit.