Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Starting with a bang

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The need [in magic] to avoid building too high too soon is the most important case where we must apply the principle of conservation. It is also the hardest lesson in showmanship to learn. Many otherwise gifted performers are unable to resist a temptation to start with a bang or to make a rise so steep that its peak comes before the real climax…

If you work night clubs where half the audience is drunk, you may need a violent opening to secure any attention at all. My friend John Carlance once played a club on New Year’s Eve. Just as pandemonium broke out at midnight, the half-witted manager turned to John and said, “You’re on.”

I would have murdered the manager. John, however, walked on stage and set fire to a handful of flash paper. The resulting flare drew even the bleariest eye in the house. Note that although this seized attention, it was not interesting in itself. In spite of his violent opening, John was able to start his interest curve at the bottom…

Henning Nelms, Magic and Showmanship

Written by nevalalee

June 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

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