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Hca] equivalent of illiteracy. The invention of pocke( 1 made the problem worse. T °n thfif neople who are intellectually capable of doin„ M Man'^ to hav such an aversion tc, mathemat.cs tfi continually add up numbers simply requires too much concem, >°

to be entertaining to most people.

This same effect involved a presentation in which the Spectat(lr encouraged (i.e.. challenged) to try to figure out the secret. Nor^ in a magic performance, the spectator can devote just as much en^ as he wishes to trying to figure out the tricks and no more. When E is challenged by the performer to come up with an explanation, ht may feel pressed to do more mental work than he really cares to. Just as arithmetic carries unpleasant connotations of dreary scluo! days for many people, so does memorization. Any effect that taxes the audience's memory will be perceived by most people as work, the antithesis of entertainment. You should never ask one person tn remember two selected cards. Similarly, you should never ask the same person to remember one selected card after another. Spread the burden by having different people pick cards in different tricks. Of course, almost every effect requires that the audience remember something, even if it's only under which cup you just placed the ball. The point is that the effect should be structured in such a way that such remembering occurs without conscious effort. We can put this in the form of a general rule, one of Darwin's Laws: Make it easier for the audience to remember what you want them to remember than it would be to forget it.

While on the subject of avoiding schoolroom drudgery, let me add that the audience should never be made to take a test. In "McDonald Aces," the cards are mixed face up and face down at the outset and a spectator is then asked whether the aces are face up or face down. This is a classic example of meaningless clutter, in this case used as a ruse to cover a switch of the aces. There are many other examples of presentations where the performer cross-examines the spectator at some point.

school.They didn't like the concentration; they of all th ^fi^fc they didn't like the memorization; but. most school™, d,int hke the tests! Don't cast yourself in the role off aB students. This kind of

S xt s1!have to deal with at day'"

at they look entertainment to allow them to escape

, m They quite rightly expect you to do the work while they eit back and relax.

. a person s concentration or memory not only interferes with

■' enjoyment of the performance, it tends to confuse the effect for ieir as they miss key points of the trick while they struggle with htever mental task you have foisted on them. Eliminate all such f tures from every effect and you'U have taken a step toward clarifying your magic.

Clarifying Techniques

Let's examine some of the major techniques you can use to clarify an ffect Each is a tool to help the spectator properly conceptualize the effect Keep in mind, however, that these techniques are not necessarily called for in every effect and an effect that incorporates one or more them is not necessarily better than one that doesn't. Whether a particular effect would benefit from any of these techniques is a question you must answer baBed on your artistic judgment end the audience reaction you're getting which may or may not indicate the need for greater clarity. However, if you sense that one of your effects ia coming across muddled, the following should function as a handy checklist of possible methods to help correct the problem. (1) Use fewer props. This is the most extreme of clarifying techniques, sometimes a very effective one. At one time, the "Linking Rings" was commonly performed with ten or more rings. Cardini introduced, and Dai Vernon popularized, the use of six rings. Jack Miller used only four rings. Today, many performers find they can attain the best audience reaction with a three-ring routine. Certainly the use of only three rings allows for the clearest possible picture for the audience of what is happening.

The classic ace assembly employs sixteen cards: the four aces plus twelve indifferent cards. However, one of the strongest of ace assemblies is Peter Kane's "Jazz Aces" which employs only eight cards: four aces and four indifferent cards. Part of the reason for the trick's strength is certainly the exceptional clarity of effect achieved by reducing the number of cards.

In the Cups and Balls, many performers who have trouble selling a routine using three cups and three balls find they can get excellent reaction from a routine using only one cup and one ball. To take an extreme example, Slydini's "One-Coin Routine" is certainly one of the most crystal clear of all coin effects primarily because it uses only one coin.

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