Packing Small and Playing BIG.

Pocket PropsI remember when I was a young magician spending hours and hours pouring over magic. There was a certain secret code involved in reading those catalogues and you learned the various phrases that they loved to apply to “reel you in!” First there were the ones that. seemed to make the effect as written even more impossible than the written description of the effect implied, some of my favorites were, 1    No Magnets! 2    Can Be Fully Examined! 3    No Threads! 4    No forcing! 5    No Mirrors! 6    No Palming 7    No practice required! 8    Can be performed surrounded! 9    Perfect for any ages! And to round out my top ten list, the ever popular 10  Packs Flat and Plays Big! In my younger days number 10 on the list wasn’t nearly as exciting as it seems today! When I was a beginner in the magic game I Old Casewanted to get as much prop for my money as I could. Bigger was definitely better for me in those days. I liked props and wanted nice shiny ones, or brightly painted boxes in red and gold. In fact when I was between the ages of 12 and 13 I put every single prop I owned on my precariously balanced tripod table in the hope of impressing the audience with my vast repertoire of tricks. Looking back it is just one of the dumb things I did that now make me blush at the memory. It really isn’t a very sophisticated approach, although I sometimes wonder if it isn’t a little part of the mentality that goes into some of the illusion acts I see performed today at conventions. NL GypsyYarnAd2Let’s take a closer look at that concept of packing flat and playing big, when I was a youngster it normally meant a flat, brightly colored, cardboard effect that could be posted too you very easily. I remember being disappointed frequently by the fact that the phrase was often code for “…and isn’t very convincing!” This wasn’t always the case but I do remember being less than thrilled with many of these items. For the last 30 years I have been very actively travelling to perform my shows, nowadays my schedule usually involves corporate shows in different cities both nationally and internationally, cruise ship bookings and performing arts centers/theatres scattered across the United States. Packing flat and playing big is a much more appealing feature to me. Actually, let me amend that statement, so that it reads, “Packing small and playing big.” There are an amazing number of very fine effects that can be achieved without a trunk full of props. When I am travelling I carry a catalogue case, which accompanies me on stage replacing a table, that when fully packed contains two fifty-minute shows and one thirty-minute show. All these effects are suitable for cabaret or stage performance The nice part about travelling like this is that if I am wearing a nice suit to travel in, I can perform a couple of full length shows even if the airline looses the rest of my baggage. I recently posted a picture on Facebook that received a lot of interest; it was the items that fitted in my suit with which I was able mirrorto perform a full sized 50-minute theatre show. They all fit into one of the larger sized purple Crown Royal bags. It is mighty powerful feeling to know you can do this. I remember back in my illusion performing days when a three-minute hunk of material could way 100 pounds and require two travel cases. You may wonder about how I have managed to make this minimum prop show really work for me, and work it does—I usually earning the same or higher fees than an illusion show. I am going to share with you one of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received from a performer, while it sounds simple DO NOT be fooled by how important it is; I was given this piece of advice by the great Maurice Fogel over 35 years ago. It changed my entire way of thinking about and performing magic. “It isnt about the props themselves, it is about the energy that you can transfer to the props and then transmit to the audience. There you are, a single sentence to think about but if you actually put it into application it can change your entire way of interacting with your show and your audience. I am delighted to share it with you fully aware that most readers will pass it by. However those of you who take the time to really reflect upon it, and apply it, will be able to use it to make your life easier, cut down your chiropractor bills and more importantly take your work to another level. Look out for my new Ultimate Gypsy Yarn Routine, which is about to go on pre-sale. This handling teaches you how to turn a small piece of magic into a feature trick that fits flat in your top pocket! This is the trick that made me want to become a magician. You can check out my online magic store at To get on the Gypsy Yarn pre-sale list contact us at Gypsy Yarn 3 copy

~ by Nick Lewin on June 6, 2015.

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