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men who look like they can take care of themsel the audience's sympathy. Ves and rf0r,.t fleed

However, when I perform close-up magic I alw assist First, a woman is less likely to take a ^ SQ*ect w0jTl toward a male performer. ("If you fool me I lose' I^mpetit've att*n ^ Second, a woman is much more likely to openly exCatChy°u 1 M » Note that both th J!1^8 adQUrat?.

Second, a woman ______HHP iu unem ,.„lv for the performer and his manic. (Note that both H,!?""* """»CP

the perspective of a male performer. 1 can't speak r P<"nts •>* C"

but f realize that matters might be rtiffo™.. «Perie„

,Irc Porfcru,: ro 1,1«.!,. . i ive of a male performer. 1 can't speak f >re t : that matters might be different if ,1.™ ^"eno, female.) Third, in our society a woman is much more L her feelings fteely and spontaneously. A man n,,rtt <xfte'

as , woman if he opens his hand to find two spongebali' an""«i one. but he m much loss Wtely to let out a scream when ft h "1S'i!!"1 In selecting assistants I always look for attractivs °P,"i"'''

a legitimate consideration in adding to the aestheh thi> is performance. I want to stress, however, that physical a,»0''1"5'11 not the most important consideration. Somo Lg!cia„I®CtWa»«l» conducting a personal beauty contest when they ^ io

Expressiveness and cooperativeness are far 1, ,„ "n ass'slat beauty. mcTe "aportant than performances where I was continually di^^^f;11 ^ beautiful assistant's looks or the amount Of ri aE,cbi'»

displaying. I figure that if it can happeiTtcnnp n 86 Slle happen to members of my au<We ^hen Z V?"*^ 1, could larger audience there will be nume ™kmg. m a typlcaJ

STe as assistants. ~

based on more important criteria. IOm am™8 'hem

One Assistant Or Two»

assistants to yOUI tahle toheb '^ y°U "P aeyeral advantages. R,« „tevZT "■? iU,t °ne' rfta, with you they will sometimes up there staring at them and '' "J'b.ted, thinking that everyone is consciousness mates the pt"L ^ ^ m™ment. This self-

nonnaiiy be and consentuT' fSS than they would second person is involved th' y°UI Performance As soon as a

:iT'tre b°"> "Sed anTth 'a,ke P—e ofZh of openly and spontaneously to „t-«« Hkely to respond

Strong Magic

.n you have two spectators at the table with you, you'll fieco^' fusing interaction between them, This usually consists of often gGt .""nging astonished looks and quizzical expressions or one thcm eXJ~iaother if she has any idea how these things are happening. „elcinS1 this very entertaining. It also helps underscore for the

Alldiencefi audience ju0t how incredible what you're doing really is. rest 0 you have two assistants it gives you a fallback if one

Third, C ves extremely troublesome. You can use the other gpectator ^ ^ nU(Jience-participation effects and virtually ignore Swublemaker.

,er you should only bring up two spectators if you actually have [or them to do to justify having two people. It's better to uee e assi8tant than to bring up two and leave one with nothing to just on^ ^ aeven close-up acta I do use only one spectator for i0- reason. In this act 1<ra always particularly careful about '„torn I pick to help me.

Who Chooses?

In Hiht of how important the choice of the right kind of aasiBtant i« to be success of a performance it's vital that you don't forfeit your right B make this decision. That is just what you'll he doing , you simply "sk for a volunteer and take whoever conies up first. (In fact, as we « see later, the kind of person most likely to volunteer is ,ust the kind who is most likely to he unsuitable.) That is also what you'll he do.ng if you give u, to you before the performance and asks you itvse-itnr^K:^ - - *

requirements are, his assurances mean oothmg Sometimes you may be J» btS

around a large tabic. If you ~ whoever you get there, you'll be stuck , brief«** or happen to take the sea« n„t ttJ^s you want your assi.tants to some props or other items on the cnair J ^ ^ a ^ of occupy. Or hang "rese^ed 51fS.°°the'„lines have.) When you those mult,-Ungual "occupied W«'|he itens f„m the come over to start your spectators, and invite chairs, pick out a couple of promising them to come over and join you.

Choosing An Assistant brought an assistant up from the audience When the assistant a mistake in following direct,ons, the juggler looked at the aud^f and said. "Its not his fault ts my fault . . .1 picked him.' The cl" implication was. 'It's my fault for picking an idiot to help me. ' ear Although the line got a laugh, I don't recommend that kind ofin8u|. humor. Nevertheless, the jugglers line contained a profound truth that even- magician should realize. Anything that goes wrong ln y performance is your fault. That includes things that are caused by an assisting spectators behavior. Its your fault because you picked him or her to help you. Here are some tips I've found useful in avoiding losers and troublemakers as assistants.

Just before I start a set I will scan the audience, specifically looking at the women spectators While I do this very casually and without staring at anyone, I'm actually carefully auditioning assistants in my mind. I look for women who are smiling or have an expectant expression, like they're looking forward to the show. I immediately eliminate anyone who looks bored or is deeply absorbed in conversation. Needless to say, I also eliminate anyone who looks like she has had too much to drink.

It will sometimes happen that I will catch the eye of one woman and she will smile at me. Whenever that happens, her berth as an assistant is secure. This has nothing to do with flirting or any ulterior motives. I can only say that in my experience these women always make perfect assistants. Anyway, it works for me. In many of my shows I'm introduced by someone at the start of my performance. Not every close-up worker has this advantage. However, whenever this opportunity arises it offers you a great aid in selecting a good assistant. I will stand off to the side during the introduction and watch the audience. How closely people listen to the introduction is a good indication of how much they're looking forward to the show.

Often I will notice a woman glancing back and forth between the person introducing me and myself. What she is hearing about me has intrigued her enough to want to get a better look at me. Like the eye-contact-and-smile tipoff I mentioned earlier, I have found this a sure-fire indicator of an ideal assistant.

In many close-up situations you'll be called on to do more than one show in the course of the evening. This is almost always the ease in

ZZYZ ^ Pr0V,de8 an°ther ^ in selecting a good assistant. Tins >s because you'll get many people who will come back the show cfltch more than one show. (If you don't, reread the earlier portions

.. « vou see a woman in the audience that you remnmK^v

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