Theater of the Mind

The. situation at this point is.that the dure women-are standing in a row, holding both hands clenched in front of them-

"Next 1 want each of you to decide which of your two hands ingoing to be rhe 'spokesperson.'Slightly raise that hand. ' .

.Approach the first woman. "Ontyyou know wheti)er the hand you are hold-ing up is the Liar or the Truth-teller. Also, only you can know 'which hand holds the coin. Jm going to ask you one simple question, which I want you to answer according to which hand you are holding up. If it is the Liar, I want you to lie; <cnd if it is the Trutl^ teller, you must tell the truth. But only you will knoiv which of those things you are doing. Think carefully for a (hi9 seconds before you respond\ • "Here is the question: Does the Lutr hand have the coin?'' Think carefully before you answer. K

Tf she answers, "No,* tap the raised hand. Ifshe answers, uYes^ touch the other one. Then have her open her fingers and show that you are correct.

Move to the .second woman and diis time alter the question slightly by saying, "Does the Truth-teller have ¡he coin?"

This reverses die procedure and, if the answer is yes, the coin is in whichever hand is raised; if no, it is in the hand nor raised.

Many people will not notice the different wording and will be thoroughly perplexed by your different responses. They will wonder if it has something to do with your helpers being right or left handed.

Now move on to the third person.

" This time, just in case you think the hand you pick to be the spokesperson tells /ne something Til pick the rjand "Touch her left hand and tell her to hold it up. "Only you know whether or not this hand is ti:e Liar or tl)e Truth-teller, right? Does the Liar have the ¿wV'Dcpending on the answer, reveal the location of the coin. As you thank your helpers and send them back to their seats, insist that each kept their quarters as souvenirs.

I have used this trick a lot and ir plays very well, but it does require very carctul explanation about how to behave as a total liar or a teller of the absolute truth.

Often I will follow this trick with one of my favorites, "'Ilie Trick That Fooled Einstein* (which Fm about to explain). However, I alter the presentation so that I can use the three women who have just helped me and the same cookie can of quarters. Once I've taught you my standard procedure for the trick, 111 explain how I alter the handling to employ three helpers.

Summer 1992

y comparative advantage as a performer is in talking with professional groups at conferences, management meetings, banquets and occasionally in giving keynote speeches at conventions. The material 1 do—as you will see in this chapter— always involves the audience. Even when I m talk-i ng to a group of five hundred, I will in the first few minutes have everyone in die audience involved.

I try ro get physically as close to the audience as I can. When I do a banqtiet performance, I invite the others at the head table to leave the platform and find a seat in die audience. When possible I then move in front of the head table and often enter the audience.

Over the years, I've learned how to make small tricks large. One way to do thii ii to have mem-bers of the audience become living props. A good example of this is "Dollar Divination" {p. 16). tight men stand in the audience and two women stand next ro mc on the platform <u> we conduct a barrit richarl>$q\' ' • .

t demonstration of thought transference. Nothing h used but a uric-dollar bill, yet it is a big trick-

. Another way to make hmall tricks play laige is ro pull the audience to the focal point and ger rhem to "fed" the impossibility of the event. Bending a spoon can be a dirowaway bar stunt; but ii it is done with a serious presentation at the right pace it can be a ¿tunning platform demonstration.

You will discover in these presentations that I strive to avoid any appearance of showing off or of seeming like a seer or guru. And. 1 often use stories, metaphors and even poetry to create an environment in which the modest miracle can occur.

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