End Note

I hope this discussion of the many dangers inherent in failureffects will help you to avoid the snares when you decide to add a trick of this son to your repertoire. If you're successful in avoiding the traps, you may well have fashioned a strong piece of theater, which no doubt will serve you extremely well. Tread carefully and good luck!

m a Not

SpH^y AV1NG discussed the difficulty of presenting failureffects properly, I will now give Wfffjju an example of a routine I used to do that contains elements of faux faux pas. I liroVZj have, with some reluctance, abandoned this routine in recent years, finding that there are still some negative aspects to die presentation drat I have not been able to circumnavigate without scraping presentational bottom. I am describing the routine, nevertheless, with die hope that it contains some interesting features and the possibility for a presentational solution for another performer. It also serves as a good example of how one constructsapresentation capable of achieving a believable feilureffect.The construction here does nor of course eliminate the need for convincing acting. However, good construction is vital in creating a believable environment that fosters credible acting, as I hope to show.

The basic plot is borrowed from J. N. Hofiinser: 'Everywhere and NowhereA card is selected, noted by the audience and lost back into the deck. The performer then ribbon spreads the pack, revealing that one card has turned face up in the center, the Two of Diamonds. Regrettably, this is not the card just chosen.

The Two is left oil the table and the rest ol the cards are gathered. The performer attempts to recover from his blunder by using a flourish to produce another card, the Two of Clubs. But again he is informed that he has missed. He deposits the Two of Clubs with the Two of Diamonds on the table and openly searches through the deck, obviously at the end of his fraying rope. He finds the Two of Hearts and asks if it is the correct card. No. He places it with the other misses.

"Was it the Two of Spades?" No, he is told. In fact it wasn't a Two at all. 'What was your card then?" he asks, finally beaten. "The Nine of Clubs," is the answer.

"Oh." The performer picks up the Two of Hearts from the table and rubs it on his sleeve, changing it to die Nine of Clubs. He next picks up rhe'l wo of ( Hubs and changes it into the Nine of Clubs as well! Then someone is asked to rub the Two of Diamonds on the table and turn the card over. It too has changcd to the Nine of Clubs!

The performer turns the deck face up and passes his hand over it. The random card there visibly changes to the Nine of Clubs! He next runs through the deck, showing that all the cards there are now Nines of Clubs.

flash through your mind, and you would grab at the very first idea dial promised to correct matters and successfully conclude the effect. It is most likely that this course of rectification would involve producing the right card in a different and somewhat less effective manner dian ihe one that you had planned. To ensure, then, that the audicncc believes that you have honestly missed, you do just that.

Push the face-up Two of Diamonds forward and out of die spread. Then, with your left hand, gather all die cards to die left of the spot the'I wo occupied, while with your right hand you pick up the remaining portion of the spread. Put the right hands cards under those in the left hand. In effect, you have subtly cut the deck at the gap in the spread made by the extracted'I wo. Most of your setup is now on top of the deck, reading from top down: Two of Clubs, Two of Hearts and Nine of Clubs. The court card lies on the bottom of the pack.

Hold the deck face down by its sides in your palm-down left hand. Wirh your right hand, cut about a third of die deck from the top and quickly peek at the face of the card to which youve cut. Yoti don't conceal this peek. That is, you don't direct attention elsewhere as you glimpse the card. But you dont make the glancc an obvious one either. You don't have to remember the card you've peeked at. Your only motive in making this slightly awkward move is to suggest to the spectators that you are improvising your way out of a difficult spot.

Now butt shuffle the right hand's smaller packet into the larger one (Figure 1). (The butt shuffle, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a form of faro shuffle done with both hands grasping the packets from above.) The shuffle doesn't have to produce a perfect weave. It can, in fact, be quite crude. All you desire is to mesh the smaller packet with the larger.

Raise both hands, turning the faccs of the woven packets toward the audience. Under cover of this upward sweep, use the right forefinger to push the top card of the right-hand packet half an inch or more to the left (Figure 2). This is the Two of Clubs.

You will now produce the Two in a rather pretty fashion (derived from a Karl Fulvcs conceit, "(ienter Control' from his Faro and Riffle Technique, 1969, p. 40). Lower your left hand and its packet as you simultaneously raise the right hand and its cards. These motions cause the Two of Clubs, from its adjusted position, to swivel out of the deck, pivoting between your left second finger and right thumb (Figure 3). The hands continue to move counterclockwise around theTwo, stripping the packets completely apart and stopping only

when the right hand is directly above the left hand. At this point the Two of Clubs will be entirely out of the deck, trapped between the backs of the left second finger and right thumb (Figure 4). This production might sound difficult, but it is actually quite the opposite.

Pause and let everyone see the lace of the Two. Then let it fall lace down onto die double-faced card on the table. Place the right hand's packet under the lefts as you look ro the audience for signs of your success; but again you discover that you have missed. The remaining three cards of your setup are now buried in the deck in this order: uppermost is the court card, then the Two of Hearts followed by the Nine of Clubs.

The audience at this point has two good reasons to believe that you are genuinely in trouble. First, the revelation you have just used to produce the Two ol Clubs is less magical and less impressive than the production oí the face-up Two of Diamonds in the middle of the deck. (Magicians may think otherwise, since the second revelation is more novel to them, but the public doesn't see things that way.) This suggests that you are groping for a method of recovery. And second, you have just produced another Two. making the audicncc think that you believe the chosen card is a Two. (After all, they don t know how cards are controlled.) "Wow" they are thinking, "he believes we chose a Two! Hes completely on the wrong path. " The imminent production of the Two of Hearts will strengthen this belief.

Spread through the deck, taces toward you, and cut the Two oí Hraris to the top. Square the cards and take the deck face: down inro left-hand dealing position. 'I'hen remove the Two ol Hearts from the top and display it.

The least effective way to produce a card is to look for it in the pack, then take it out and show it. That is exacdy what you have just done. At this point it seems you no longer care about finding the card in an impressive manner. After two failures you are just trying to save face by identifying the card. This is precisely what a none too competent magician might do in these circumstances.

Now, in utter disbelief at your repeated misses, blatantly ask if the card was the Two of Spades? This question draws attention upward to your face, permitting you to execute a top change, switching the Two of Hearts in your right hand for the Nine of Clubs on top of the deck. Throw the face-down Nine onto the pair of cards on the table.

The top change is never seen. In addition to your question claiming the audiences attention, no one is any longer interested in the cards. They are more concerned with how you will handle the predicament you are in, which continues to worsen.

On hearing that the selection wasn't the Two of Spades, seem to give up entirely. Pretend that all is lost and the trick is over. This pretense of complete defeat is important. When the audience believes that you are giving up, abandoning the trick, they have been convinced that you have truly failed. All your actions have led them to this conclusion. You have produced three Iwos in successively less interesting ways, and in the end you have not found the selection. In all my performances of this routine, I never encountered a lay person who wasn't convinced by all this that I was honestly in trouble. There was no suspicion that they were being set up.

Frequently, at the conclusion of the routine, people told me, "I thought you had really missed. You fooled me! It was all part of the trick!" They were fooled—fooled by the acting more than by anything else. The technical elements don t seem important to them.

0 0

Post a comment