Torn And Restored Cigarette

Tommy Wonder

This is a completely impromptu method of performing the classic T&R cigarette effect. The thing, which distinguishes it from other versions, is a little touch that Tommy discovered, by chance. As far as is known, this little touch is completely original. It is capable of being applied to other versions of the trick to make them more convincing. However, it is intended to describe Tommy's complete handling of the whole effect, which is very clean and beautiful magic.

In this particular version, the actual tearing and placing together of the two halves Eire played down. The restoration itself, where Tommy's addition plays a vital part, is built up for maximum impact.

In order to understand the basic mechanics of what will follow, take a cigarette and hold it lightly, by the centre, between the thumb and forefinger. Roll it backwards and forwards a little, applying pressure. This will soften the centre of the cigarette, making it pliable. The cigarette can now be bent at right angles, as in Fig.l, without tearing the paper. This is the key to the whole thing. Practise doing it until you can confidently pick up a cigarette, soften it and bend it with speed and certainty. You will not, of course, do this openly during the performance. All of the actions will be covered. It is, however, important that you get the feel of it, before trying the full handling.

METHOD & WORKING

1) Secretly Softening the Cigarette. Borrow a cigarette and hold it by the centre, between the right thumb and first finger. Show it around and, in the process, roll it backwards and forwards to make the middle soft. To conceal this rolling action, rotate the hand, at the wrist, turning it palm up and palm down. In other words, do the paddle move with the1 cigarette, applying pressure all of the time. Continue doing this and talking, until you know that the cigarette is soft enough to be safely bent, without the risk of tearing the paper.

2) The Apparent Tearing. Take the cigarette in both hands, as in Fig. 2. The position alone, telegraphs to the audience that the cigarette is about to be torn. The next few actions follow on from one another rapidly, so as to simulate a simple tearing action. As stated earlier, no particular emphasis is given to this action. It should be done in a casual, low key manner.

Turn the hands, from the wrists, to the Fig. 3 position. This brings the fingers towards the audience. Just for a split second, the whole cigarette is out of sight. As this is a perfectly natural part of the tearing process, it passes unnoticed. As soon as the hands are in the Fig. 3 position, the right thumb presses-on the centre of the cigarette and draws it backwards, until it is completely concealed behind the right fingers. Fig.4 shows an exposed view of the position, from the performer's view. Because the centre of the cigarette is thinner and softer than the ends, this drawing backwards action is very easy to do.

As soon as the cigarette has reached the Fig. 4 position, the right thumb returns to its original place, behind the fingertips. The left thumb and first finger pinch a tiny fragment of tobacco AND PAPER and tear it off as in Fig.5. This should be only the minutest portion, which destroys only the very tip of the cigarette. Later as Figs. 8 & 9 will show, this minute fragment appears to be the end of the left hand half of the cigarette. Take just enough to give this illusion and no more. Also, and this is most important, only take the fragment from the front (audience side) of the cigarette. The performer's side should be left intact and appear undamaged.

During the tearing action, before the little bit of paper and tobacco is completely severed, pull the cigarette to the left and upward. This bends it, in the centre, as shown in Fig. 6.

When the tearing off of the small portion has been completed, the cigarette will be in the position shown in Fig. 7. In the picture the right thumb has been raised, for clarity. In fact, the

How Position The Cigarette Finger

thumb will occupy the position in Fig. 8. An audience view of Fig. 8 is shown in Fig. 9. Notice how the right third and fourth fingers have been opened out. This greatly adds to the illusion of the cigarette being in two pieces.

As was mentioned at the beginning and is now stressed again, the whole action from Fig.2 to Fig.9 takes about one second to execute.

3) Placing Together The Two "Halves". Pause for about two seconds, in the Fig.9 position. Then place both hands back together again, in a position almost identical to the one shown in Fig.6. The left hand, using the little bit of paper and tobacco, pushes against the end of the cigarette, in the right. The cigarette is pushed backwards, into the right hand, until it reaches the position, shown in Fig.10. During this action, it is allowed to straighten a little, but not completely.

Separate the hands a little, as if to show the severed ends, once more (see Fig.ll). Do not stay in this position. Immediately bring both hands together again. This time the left hand is slightly higher than the right. The fragment in the left should almost touch the end of the cigarette (Fig. 12).

The next action is not an easy one to describe on paper. However, anybody following the description, with a cigarette in hand, should be able to understand it. The right thumb pushes the cigarette to the left. Simultaneously, the back of the hand is rotated downwards, in a clockwise direction. This will result in the inner end of the cigarette being pivotted into view as in Fig.13. Its direction of movement, in relation to the hand, is indicated by the arrow. The opposite end will be concealed by the left fingers.

The small fragment of tobacco and paper will be directly above the fold, in the centre of the cigarette. Place the tobacco and the bit of paper into the fold. Fig. 14 shows how it would lgok, if the left hand were to be removed, at this stage. For the time being, though, the left forefinger maintains contact with the fragment. The right hand rotates palm down, simultaneously the left turns palm up. During the turning, the left thumb comes up and takes a hold of the centre of the cigarette, gripping it against the left forefinger, which is already there. Fig.15 shows the position at the start of the action, as the hands are about to turn. Fig. 16 shows the position, when the turn is completed and the cigarette and fragment have been transferred to the left hand. The right forefinger is not removed until the very last moment. It is very important that, during this turnover and transfer, from right to left hands, that the cigarette be rotated on its axis, thereby keeping the loose tobacco and paper on top. Ensure also that the ragged edge, from which the fragment was torn, ends up on the performer's side of the cigarette and not the audience's.

Fig. 17 shows the position of the cigarette on completion of the transfer. It is very important that the bent position be maintained. This is a vital part of the illusion of two separate pieces. It is only fully straightened at the moment of supposed restoration. 1020

4) The Little Touch. With the cigarette in the Fig. 17 position, the illusion that there are two pieces is almost perfect. It is hard to believe that it is still whole. This is what makes the effect so convincing. There are several details, which play an important part. One is that the fragment of tobacco and paper should be right in the fold of the cigarette and pressed home as deeply as possible. Do not just let them lie loosely on top. To do so, destroys the illusion.

It is also most important that the little bit of paper be there. Logically it should not be necessary, but in practise it makes all the difference. Without it the illusion is not nearly so strong. However, be sure that it is only a LITTLE bit of paper and a LITTLE bit of tobacco. If you have too much of either, the illusion will not be right.

5) The Showing Around. The Fig. 17 position can be held for quite a long time. You can really impress upon the audience that the cigarette is in two pieces and that your hands are otherwise empty. Give them time to realise the full implication of this. Now is the time to dramatise and build up the subsequent restoration.

To justify holding the cigarette in this position for some time, press each end, alternately, towards the centre, with the right hand. Act as though you are trying to restore the cigarette. Also, press the right forefinger on the centre, from time to time. Make sure that everyone sees and appfeciates that it is "really" broken.

Remember though, to keep the ragged edge towards yourself. The whole displaying process should last about 20 seconds.

6) The Restoration. Take the right end of the cigarette between the right thumb and first finger. The left second finger straightens out, alongside the left first finger. Lightly roll the cigarette backwards, towards yourself, relaxing the left thumb at the same time. This will result in the small.fragment of tobacco and paper falling away and dropping onto the left palm. The first and second fingers cover this. Fig. 18 shows the position. The cigarette can now be fully straightened.

As soon as the fragment has dropped, the left second finger bends in towards the palm, leaving a clear view of the cigarette as in Fig. 19. Pull the cigarette towards the right, sliding the centre into view. Let it be clearly seen that you have restored it. The whole restoration sequence lasts for about 3 seconds.

7) Destroying the evidence. An easy way to get rid of the fragment in the left hand, is to casually turn it palm down over an ashtray. Move the ashtray aside, in the same action, while keeping your attention on the cigarette. Sometimes it is possible to throw it onto an empty plate, where there are the remains of food, under cover of a gesture.

Do not try to drop it directly onto the floor. This is dangerous. The little bit of paper is very visible, especially as it has a tendency to flutter down. If you wish to get rid of it in this way, ensure that it is either below the level of the table top or behind something, before being released.

Place the good end of the cigarette in your mouth and light the ragged one. Keep the good side towards the audience, as you do this.

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  • franziska
    How to break and restore a cigarette?
    6 years ago

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