Have Black Art Frame folded and placed to one side of stage. Place top with it.
Have screen opened a little, standing to left of stage. Right side of stage can be used if more convenient. Place screen with part of it extending back into the wings as shown in diagram of Figure 22.
Figure 23 shows position of screen as seen by audience.
Place one Hindu costume on a chair offstage at the right and the other offstage at the left near the screen.
Assistant dressed in assistant's costume enters from right side of stage with chair, upon which is the performer's Hindu outfit. He places chair at right side of stage and exits. Offstage, he quickly removes his coat, cap, and mustache, and places them on a chair or table in readiness for performer later on. He then hurries back of curtain to left side of stage and hastily dons the Hindu outfit on that side.
When assistant has brought Hindu costume on stage and has made his exit, performer says:
"I shall present an odd illusion of the Hindus as it is performed in far-away India. In order to create the proper Oriental atmosphere, I shall dress as a Hindu."
Put on coat and fasten it. Then place sash around your waist and tie it with a knot. Put on the mustache and beard. (These should be fastened together and adjustable with wires over the ears.) Place the turban on your head. Your movements should be timed in order to give assistant ample time to dress in his Hindu costume.
Now walk over to frame, pick up and show it freely. Open it to form a right angle, standing behind it so that audience can see through it. In this way audience is convinced that if anything were placed behind frame, it could easily be seen.
Pick up Top. Stand in FRONT of frame and place Top in position. The moment Top strikes hinge joints on each frame, the panels are raised and the roller curtains drop down to cover openings. This is done quickly and your body in front of the frame helps to screen the dropping of the curtains.
Now walk over to parlor screen at left of stage and step behind it. Immediately your assistant, dressed as a Hindu, steps in front of you and places his hands on the edge of the
screen. As you go offstage, assistant carries screen out on stage.
Rush over from left to right side backstage, take off the Hindu outfit and put on assistant's first costume of coat, cap, and mustache, and take the pistol in your hand -- assistant turns back to audience and carries screen up to platform. Audience believes that performer merely walked behind screen to pick it up and carry it over to platform. Assistant, dressed as Hindu, is believed to be performer.
Assistant places screen down in front of platform, and with back to audience, bows once. He then steps up on platform and grasps screen so as to lift it up in front of him on platform.
Assistant places screen in front of him on platform. The moment he is concealed, he steps to left of trap door of platform with his left foot and raises the door with his right foot. He then steps down through the trap, being careful not to expose himself from the sides of screen, and crawls down on floor under top of frame. He now pulls the trap door back in place.
This should all be done very quickly and yet allow enough time for you to get into assistant's costume. As soon as assistant is concealed under frame, you step out from right wings, walk up to screen, and fire pistol into the air. Remove screen to show Hindu has vanished, fold it up, and place it on top of platform or allow it to fall to the floor.
Turn to audience, quickly remove cap with one hand and mustache with the other, and show yourself to be the performer.
NOTE: This illusion is a great one for closing a Chautauqua or Lyceum performance.
Speed up the illusion as much as possible. Practice it carefully with your assistant so that you can work in harmony and time your movements correctly. There must be no interrupted action or you lose your hold on the audience. Speed is essential in all illusion work.
A DAUGHTER OF THE SUN This is a legendary illusion with a puzzling finish. EFFECT:
A girl is placed in a kneeling position on a small altar and is covered with a cloth. Audience can see under altar and
can see girl move after she is covered, yet when the cloth is whisked away, the girl has vanished. She suddenly appears in the audience and comes running up the aisle to the stage.
1 -- A Phantom Black Art Frame and Top, to represent an altar.
2 -- A large cloth, about eight feet square, with a large sun painted in the center.
This cloth may be a bed sheet with an orange-colored sun and rays painted on it — or a yellow cloth with orange-colored sun. (Or it may be just a plain white sheet.)
3 -- A torch and pedestal to hold torch.
4 -- A specially prepared back curtain or screen with a trap door in the center back at the floor.
This trap is a frame with a door in it, opening from one side. It should be made of thin wood, yet built as substantially as possible so that a person can go through it without breaking it. Upper part of frame is attached to curtain or screen and lower part is fastened to floor backstage. The two parts should be hinged together so that they can fold flat and then braced at both sides with pieces which screw on and can be removed for packing.
The opening for door should be about 24 inches wide and 13 inches high. This door is hinged so that it swings both ways and goes back to closed position when released. It is covered with the same black material as curtain or screen so that it cannot be detected when closed.
Figure 29 shows front view of trap when open.
Figure 30 shows rear view of trap with door swinging backstage.
Framework should be screwed to floor to make it substantial and prevent motion of curtain when assistant crawls through opening.
Assistants: Two girls, about the same size. One man or woman additional.
Have back curtain in place with trap door closed. Black Art Frame and Top are at center or side of stage.
The two girls must be dressed exactly alike. Chinese costumes with short coats and trousers are good outfits for illusion work as they are easier to work in than skirts.
Other style costumes may be used, however. The illusion can be made very effective with American Indian costumes and decorations.
Performer and other assistant may be in regular clothes or in the same style outfits as the two girls.
Place one girl in costume at rear of curtain, ready to come through trap door at verbal signal.
Assistant picks up frame and brings it over in front of trap door in back curtain. He stands behind frame and opens it so that audience can see through it, setting it down about two feet in front of trap door. You will have to study Angles of Visibility and convenience of working to determine just where you will find it best to place the frame.
Assistant then places top on frame, causing curtains to drop down. He stands in front of frame while doing this. Next he places the stool at the right side of frame.
The moment curtains are down in frame, assistant gives a verbal signal. Girl comes through trap door and crawls under top of frame.
In the meantime, performer is addressing audience.
"There is a legend told of a certain cult of sun worshippers who once a year made sacrifice of the fairest and most beautiful girl of their cult, in the hope that the spirit of this fair girl would go up to the sun and become a daughter of the sun god. To become the daughter of the sun was a rare privilege. However, there came a time when a certain girl was chosen and offered for sacrifice and a strange thing happened. The story is best told in illusion."
Have other girl enter from bowed. She stops a moment, her head, and then bows it
You take her hand and lead assisting her to get up on facing audience.
right side. Her head is turns to audience, raises again.
her to the altar, it. Girl kneels on it,
Assistant picks up the cloth and gives a corner of it to you to hold. You stretch the cloth out between you in front of girl on altar. You are at girl's right and assistant is at her left.
Now cloth is completely spread out to screen girl. Be sure bottom of cloth is a few inches below top of platform but not too low, so that audience believes it is looking through frame below. As soon as cloth is in proper position, girl slides down behind frame and out through the trap door in curtain. Other girl comes up from under frame and takes kneeling position on platform.
Cloth is then dropped down over second girl. This must be performed without hesitation so that audience is not aware of any change in girls behind the cloth.
Girl who is now free rushes around the outside to the back of audience in readiness to come down the aisle when called. The timing here must be perfect so that girl does not appear too soon in the audience or too late for good effect.
On the stage you adjust the cloth around the girl, folding it back a little to expose part of the girl's costume. This is to help the illusion further by convincing audience that girl is still there.
You bow to girl on altar several times and look up to sun. Assistant lights torch and places it on pedestal or holds it in his left hand.
You then walk to right side and assistant to left side of altar. Each grasps a rear corner of the cloth, then you both hold it straight up to screen girl. Girl on altar slides down quickly and crouches under top of platform.
The moment she is gone, you suddenly grasp cloth in a bunch. The girl is gone. You look at the bare altar and exclaim, "Gone!"
You then call to her, "Ming Toy -- Ming Toy -- where are you?" Use some appropriate name here in accordance with costumes used.
Girl comes running down the aisle, exclaiming, "Here I am!" She comes up to stage. You take her hand and you both bow.
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