A little while ago I agreed to do a school assembly tour next year. I’ll be doing 2-4 shows a day for about 8 weeks. For me doing these tours is about generating new material. Doing 15-20 shows a week, you really can take something and polish it, or know it’s not for you.
I was trying to think of a something to tie a bunch of unrelated ideas together. It hit me the other day, use idioms as the thing that links everything. An idiom is a saying, like “a broken clock is right twice a day” or “keep me in the loop“.
Those are two examples of things I’m working on right now for the show.
A while ago I ended up with a lot of vintage magic props. One of them is the stand for an old vanishing alarm clock. I went out and ordered an alarm clock with bells that ring and rigged it to work with a remote control. The idea is that alarm clock will come out of a box. It will be covered up with a handkerchief and hang on the stand. It will ring, then vanish. Then there will be ringing from the box it originally came out of and it will be back inside the box!
I’m excited to be able to have a use for a prop like this in my show, as this style of prop doesn’t normally have a spot in what I do.
At the beginning of the show I take out the alarm clock and say “It’s time to start the show” and the alarm clock rings. Then throughout the show whenever I say the word “time” the alarm clock rings. I don’t call attention to the connection of the word time and the ringing of the alarm clock. I let the audience discover that, and the do fairly quickly.
This gag definitely has it’s roots in Pee Wee’s Playhouse with their use of a secret word and when it’s said everyone screams. I like the gag because it’s not exactly a look don’t see as it’s an action that’s triggered by something else happening, so it’s funny, but the kids don’t feel a need to explain anything to you after the connection of the word and action are established.
I have a feeling this is going to be a great lead into the vanishing alarm clock once I have finished making the couple of extra props that I need for it.
The estate sale that I picked up magic from last week had a lot of magic from the 1930’s. It’s really interesting how magic changes over time and the trends seem to stick for a long time. The 1930’s was the era of everything being nickel / chrome plated!
Not too long after this era, we entered the brightly colored boxes with Asian characters on them. Currently we’re in the time of “everyday props” or props that pretend to be everyday items. However there is some movement to using props that don’t resemble everyday items as a “special” moment in the show.
There are soo many crazy methods to these tricks and soo many of them are over engineered by today’s standards on how to accomplish things. For example this table was used to make glass disappear!
The crazy thing is that the glass isn’t that big, it’s maybe 8-10 ounces! There are better ways to do it…but they’re a little bit harder and not as fun to play with! -Louie