Finale

David asks all the men to step forward, stand in a line and hold hands. It's apparent that they are a little self-conscious but they do it anyway. Taking a postcard he walks along the line saying to each man, "To you this is just a card. To you this is just a card." And as he walks the line he brushes the card against his hand as if sharpening it.

When he gets to the last in line we see it is the volunteer he used earlier in the razor demonstration. The sound of the card being sharpened sounds more ominous than ever. David looks at him and says, "But to you it's still a razor!"

He walks back to the first man, continuing to sharpen the card and tells them all to look straight ahead. "And the strange thing is that if I cut you HkethisX" and he slices the card across the arm of the first man and as he does the man at the opposite end of the line suddenly yelps and brings his free hand up to his sleeve as if he has been cut!

He takes three other men and tells them to sit on chairs. He gets each man to extend his legs. Then he asks them to hold out their arms straight. Finally he goes up to each one and tips the man backwards until the chair is balanced on the two rear legs. He lets go and, miraculously, the chair and the man stay precariously balanced. He does the same with the second man and the third and leaves them like that.

David takes an imaginary lasso from inside his jacket. He twirls it around his head like a cowboy and then casts it in the direction of one of the balanced men. He pauses then jerks it back and the man tips forward on his chair until his feet are safely on the ground. He repeats the mime with the second and third men and both tip forward and set their feet upon the stage. Then he turns and takes his applause.

He brings the women volunteers forward and gives each of them a postcard to hold. Again he fusses over the way each woman holds her card, whipping it out of her hand if it's not right and then putting it back.

Then he finds the man whose foot he stomped on and once again stands him near the footprint. Once more he tests the man by asking if he can feel his right foot and his left foot.

He checks the cards for the last time and then tips the three men back on their chairs again. Three men balanced, three women holding cards and one man not quite sure where his left foot should be. It's all building towards the final moment. David is still holding a postcard in his hands and he's sharpening it threateningly. The sound reverberates through the theatre. Suddenly he stamps his foot on the footprint. The ladies drop the cards as one man jerks his foot back and another clutches his arm. The audience laughs and starts to applaud.

As they do, David lassos the three men again, this time altogether. "We have a bigger lasso this time, and it will make you tilt forward, like this!" He pulls at the invisible lariat and the three men immediately tip forward. The audience applauds even louder.

Revelations: This was a reprise of the suggestion effects, all of them set off at the same time when David stamped his foot. Added to this was a chair balancing effect that David had created many years before and used in his Opus 13 television series.

The method was mechanical and similar to the comic "leaning" stunt in that a gimmick was used to anchor the rear legs of the chair to the stage. The chairs could be picked up and handled freely but once the rear legs were slotted into the gimmicks they could be tipped backwards and would remain in that position, apparently balanced.

When working on television (Opus 13 and The Mind of David Berg/as) David had the gimmicks built into the studio flooring. And for his theatre shows the gimmicks could be hidden under carpeting. But on this occasion they were hidden in wooden bases some two and a half feet across and nine inches deep. These were sections of the base used for the Spirit Cabinet, a unit that divided into three for easier travelling. As far as the audience was concerned the bases were simply to raise the height of the chair and make the effect more visible.

David.asked a volunteer to sit in each chair and told him to relax, put his legs forward and stretch out his arms. He tilted the volunteer's head back and touched him on the forehead, saying, "Relax. Breathe gently." Then he reached down, took hold of the edge of the seat between the volunteer's legs and tipped the chair back. The chair reached a certain point and stayed there. It looked very eerie.

It's an unnerving position for the volunteer to be in so, off mike, David reassured him, telling him not to worry, nothing untoward is going to happen and he won't fall. Although the volunteers were leaning back and looking upwards they could see David as he pretended to take out an invisible lariat and lasso them. He would say, "Keep looking up but you will feel this lasso jerking you forward. When I pull like this!" They understood his intention and when he stepped back and pulled on the lasso they automatically tilted their heads to see what was happening. This shifted their weight and tipped their chairs forward.

The finale is important and the three men have to tip forward simultaneously, an effect that swells the applause from the audience. So the second time David "balanced" the three men on their chairs he gave them a secret instruction, a stage whisper, under cover of the audience's reaction. Quickly he would tell each one, "Watch me and tilt forward when I pull." It was a very simple command and always worked.

When they got up from the chairs David would thank them and casually moved the chairs aside to show that they were not attached to anything. Then he said, to one of the men, "Will you do me a favour?"

"What's that?"

"Don't tell anyone how it's done."

It got a puzzled look from the volunteer and another laugh from the audience. To another volunteer he would say, "Don't try this at home." Again, more laughter and everyone leaves the stage with a smile.

The exact mechanics of the gimmicks isn't being revealed here. It's not complicated and David feels that anyone with a burning desire to do this routine will be able to work out their own. Any questions?

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment