R r c i

Corinda: Let us leave this now and change to another topic. What would you say are some common faults with patter?

Claude: The outstanding fault is not learning patter. Patter should be learnt and I think the mentalists are probably the greatest offenders. A mentalist has to do so much explaining and the whole of his script should be edited with the greatest of care so that he has an economy of words, otherwise it gets lost and fogged with verbosity. I would say a vital thing is to write out your patter first and learn it after some editing has been done. Get it clear and concise. I've seen many a good mental performer fail because the audience don't quite know where they are with this awful jumble of words.

Corinda: I feel I should point out in defence of Mentalists, that we have to use what is called spiel—very often an almost impromptu fill-in of patter.

Claude: There we have the peculiarity of this subject—so you allow patches in your script which are there for the purpose of ad libbing or spiel. The other points should be linked up by definite patter.

Corinda: I gather that you think the average mentalist uses too much patter?

Claude: Not too much. It seems overburdening because he hasn't got it cut down—he could say all he has to say with less words. A mental act is bound to be very wordy so let's get it as clear and concise as we possibly can. The only way is to write it out and then edit it.

Corinda: Can you offer any tips on how to learn patter?

Claude: An old dodge is to read it over before you go to sleep—any actor will tell you that. Merely read it—no need to keep saying it over to yourself. Remember patter has so many uses and it is therefore important. It can be used as misdirection, it is not what you do, but what you make the audience think you do and patter can help you to achieve that.

Corinda: Now what about props—you mentioned the importance of planning where you are going to put your stuff on stage.

Claude: It is vitally important. Every prop on stage should have its place. Where it comes from and where it goes to. Moreover, if you have one trick with props that is to be followed by another, it's important to know what you are going to do with the props in between. If you need time to get rid of the props from your last trick, start talking about the next one whilst you are putting the props away. It is what we call continuity—things must go on smoothly. You must hold the audience's attention all the time.

Corinda: Well Claude we have covered a pretty wide selection of subjects, but we have yet to deal with the very end of your act. What advice can you offer to our readers concerning curtain calls and exit?

Claude: One very important thing is to check at every theatre to find out which way the tabs close. If you want to make a quick and smooth movement to the front to take your curtain, you must head in the right direction through the tabs. Look up at any time in your act if you have any doubts, and don't leave it too late.

Corinda: In conclusion in your lecture you mentioned some rather important points about having assistants in the act—and the difference between an assistant and partner when it comes to curtain calls.

Claude: Yes, well I did mention that because so many magicians and mentalists do have their wives and friends as assistants, and the point is this r r i with full time experienced professional men who have assistants, male or female on the stage, the assistants do not take a call. The performer who has been assisted by his wife is in a difficult position because she will want to take a call, but strictly speaking, as an assistant, she should not do so.

If the performer feels she has to be there to take a call, the best way is to give her a little more to do in the act and then she becomes more important and she equals a partner and becomes entitled to take a call.

Corinda: Well Claude, I'm sure there are many other things you could tell us but we have to stop somewhere and we are thankful for all your advice in this interview.


However careful one tries to be, there is always the mistake. Many readers have kindly informed me of errors published in this series and for the benefit of purists the following alterations and additions should be made to existing copies:—

STEP ONE: Pp. 16. Madame DISS DEBAR should read, Madame DIS DEBAR.

STEP THREE: Pp. 66, para 2 should read: " Alternatively start with the number above the Key (i.e. 38) and when you reach a Key Square subtract two. (Diagram C.)

Also on this page Diagram B " and Diagram 44 C " should have a black star added in top left hand squares. (Square number 52 in 44 C " and the equivalent in 44 B ".) STEP SEVEN: Pp. 229, para. 8. For Houdini read Houdin. STEP TEN: Pp. 309. Photo-memory by Hans Trixer. Either method may be used. The number called and performer names card or the card called and then performer states at which number it will appear. Line 23 should read 44 You said Ten and I said Three of Hearts."

Pp. 316. Beyond the Veil. Readers were not informed that in the pack, the cards which should be short cards were:—

8C, QC, AC, 10D, 2S, 4C, AD, QS, 10S, AH, 8D, 8H, 4D, AS, JH, 8S, 10C, 4S, JD, KD, 6S, 4H, 5H, 9H, 6C, 7H (total 26 cards). The other 26 cards not mentioned consist of the remainder of the pack. This deck, arranged in long- and short-pairs, with cards in any order, will allow you to spell out from the stacked deck when instructions, as given in the effect, are followed.

A final note on The Thirteen Steps to Mentalism. Those of you who have seen or read this complete series will appreciate that 1 owe a great deal to many fellow Mentalists for their advice, help and general support. To all those who have so generously given us tricks and routines, I express my sincere thanks. To those who have given us tricks without knowing it, I say thanks again, and leave in modest consolation the words of Hans Trixer who, speaking of those who steal or borrow tricks—writes . . .

When you steal one trick, they call it plagiarism.

When you steal many—they call it research.

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