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 Post subject: Ren Fest Performer
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:25 am 
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Joined: 14 Feb 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Wichita, KS
I have been working Renaissance Festivals for a while now. I perform a half hour juggling and magic routine. I start with juggling, have the magic act in the middle, and end by juggling fire on a rola bola.
Right now in the show I do (with length of routine):
A Cut and Restored Rope Routine (4mins)
Insurance Policy Routine (4mins)
Confusing Crayons (for the kiddies) (4mins)
Coloring Book (only if I have a lot of young kids)(2min)
Duct Tape Blind Fold Routine (4 mins)
Driebeck Die (2 mins)

But I usually do more than 4 shows a day so there is always the chance of getting some same people more than once. So I am looking to add some more routines to my show so I can make TWO different shows.

I am looking for suggestions of tricks that could have 3-6 minutes routines with them. I can add humor and my own routines....but I need some suggestions of some tricks that would be good outside...and surrounded on three sides...sometimes completely surrounded.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:01 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 2576
Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
My first question would be, "What does any of the magic you are doing have to do with a Renaissance Fair?" Such a fair is a themed event designed to create a very specific atmosphere; granted, you didn't say anything about your routine or character, but stuff like the Insurance Policy, Confusing Crayons, Coloring Book, and Duct Tape Blindfold don't seem appropriate to me.

Now, if you have actually developed routines for these pieces that make them appropriate for a Renaissance Fair as opposed to simply doing a standard kids show at the event, then accept my apology. If not, then the first thing I would suggest is either coming up with appropriate routines or developing a new act that leverages the Renaissance Fair atmosphere.

David Kaye's column in an issue of Magic magazine from last year featured a Renaissance Fair magician who does exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. The article showed specifically how he took a "standard" kids' piece -- the "Dubious Domino" -- and developed a routine appropriate for the Renaissance Fair atmosphere. I'll see if I can dig up the issue.

I could suggest lots of tricks...I could simply list every trick on my current and past children's acts...or tell you to browse the kids magic section of a site like Hank Lee's or Morrissey Magic. Coming up with the "tricks" is the easy part. :wink: But it's the routine building that's the real challenge. Rope routines... a silk fountain... color-changing wreaths... Miser's Dream... Victory Cartons... Squared Circle... Strat-O-Sphere... Chinese Sticks... Linking Rings... any of those can work, with some prop modification (painting, etc.) and a solid appropriate routine. I even do Collard in my "medieval wizardy-esque" kids' shows... but it only works because of the distinctive, appropriate routine I've developed for it.

The list of possibilities is as huge, but they're just possibilities. What works for me might not work for you.


Last edited by TheCaffeinator on Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:10 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 14 Feb 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Wichita, KS
I definately use an artistic license in my show. Granted none of the tricks are period....but I dress the part...have an accent (not british like everyone and their dog does)... and the show plays really well. My show is more for the adult audience...lots of inuendos (spelling?)... I do the kids tricks only if there are a lot of kids that stop by.

The show plays really well and the income from it keeps me alive. I haven't ever had any people ever say it is not appropriate for the period and I keep getting faires to hire me. They love the show even though it isn't period. I have even had SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) members come and say they liked the show afterwards and they are the crazies that go overboard and won't wear certain fabrics because they are not period.

I think audiences today really just don't mind the fact that performers are using modern equipment. They expect to see jugglers and magicians and don't mind the fact we don't use wooden clubs and are using silicone balls and are using duct tape and insurance policies.

I would definately be interested in that article you mentioned if you can find it.

I hope none of this has sounded rude in return. It is not meant to be that way. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:46 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
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Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
Don't worry...you didn't sound rude in the least. In fact, I was very happy to get a response that showed you actually care about these issues. You don't get that a lot here.

The article appeared in the April 2007 issue of Magic -- vol. 16, no. 8 -- on pages 92-93. The magician featured goes by the name of Master Payne (among others).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 14 Feb 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Wichita, KS
Do you know where I might be able to get the issue or at least read that article?

Do you have any ideas of some good tricks I could possibly look into? Like I said they don't have to be period or made into period pieces...modern tricks still play really well with the act I do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:31 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 2576
Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
You can order back issues here:

http://www.magicmagazine.com/

My scanner's down, otherwise I'd try to send you the article.


As for tricks...well, how "proppy" do you want to get? In other words, do you want stuff like a Squared Circle or Start-O-Sphere or simpler, more "ordinary" things?

A Disecto might be good (there's a very nice unpainted version with sort of a "natural wood" look)... Walking Through Ropes... a good rope routine like Fiber Optics, Loose Ends, Three Ropes and a Baby, or Daryl's rope routine... Miser's Dream... lots of ways you can go, especially if you are making stuff like the Insurance Policy work for the venue.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Joined: 14 Feb 2008
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Location: Wichita, KS
I can go as "proppy" as I want as long as it fits in my case...lol. I have a trunk I use right now.

-I like the Miser's Dream and that could be done with period looking coins. I really like audience participation because it sells really good at faires.
-I like the strat-o-sphere...but it just looks cheaply made to me for the price. I have seen it at Stevens Magic here in Wichita and i love the routine and how it all works but it just seems really cheap to me.
-The tricks I have now are really simple tricks but i have expanded them into 4-5 minute routines. The insurance policy trick could be done in a minute but mine is much much longer. It almost turns into a stand up act instead of the trick.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:51 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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Location: Wood River, Illinois
Where are you performing ? KC Renfest ? When have you performed at the faire ? I was there last year and was woundering if I saw you there or if I somehow missed you!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:20 pm 
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Joined: 14 Feb 2008
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Location: Wichita, KS
NOPE!!! :( Have never worked KC faire. I want to though. They already have two magicians and three jugglers (i think) and I have never applied to work there because of this.

I work the Wichita Faire and the Norman Faire this spring that are booked so far...waiting on others...but i worked both of these last year if you went to either of those.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:34 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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Location: Wood River, Illinois
I didn't know about the one in Wichita untill last year, but I have been going to the one in Kansas City for about thirteen years and I think that it is still the same two magicians and I think that one of them owns the local magic shop. It is a fun time as I usualy drees-up when going. We go about once a year and spend the day.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:47 am 
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Joined: 14 Feb 2008
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Location: Wichita, KS
Its been the same two guys since I have been going there as a patron for the last 5 years. So I know it would be really hard to get in there as a magician. They also have had the same couple of jugglers for a while. But who knows...doing both in one act might be the kicker that really makes them decide to let me come :? I am gonna audition this year but we will see what happens.

The wichita faire is the 19th and 20th of April. You should come on over.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:26 pm 
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Location: Parkville, MO
Woo! Kansas City! lol Live there on the weekends, but I haven't been to the RenFest in a couple of years. Was there for the Easter Keg Hunt two years ago, but that's it. Of course, it was closed then, but... all right, I'll shut up now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:29 pm 
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Joined: 16 Aug 2006
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
If you have kids between the ages of 8-12 that show up, try a trick called KNOT A CHANCE. It's never failed to get a strong reaction from this age group. And it fools pretty much everybody else too, even the adults. Can be performed surrounded as well. No angles to worry about. Does not take up alot of room.


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