Review: Standing Up on Stage – Volume 1 – Opening Acts by Scott Alexander

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo”][vc_column_text]This is the first of 5 volumes which are like an encyclopedia on stage and parlour magic. In each volume, Scott Alexander concentrates on a different aspect of stage/parlour magic.

In addition to the actual effects he uses, he also discusses how to build the persona of the performing magician in “Character Building”, and how to work and collaborate with the stage hands and technicians in “Director’s Guide”.

The effects may be familiar to you, but when Scott puts his character and presentation on them, they become so different and so much more entertaining.

Volume 1 features “Opening Acts”. In the introduction, Scott explains how to grab the audience’s attention with Dariel Fitzkee’s principle of “colour, sound and movement”. The opening effects must be fast and visual.

The Effects

  1. How Many Times? – vanishing watch in hanky and its reappearance on the performer’s wrist, with a surprise climax of not only one but at least 4 or 5 watches on his arm!
  2. Candle To Flower – comedy version that gets an instant laugh from the audience.
  3. Balloon Morph – cane to balloons, ballon to balloon sculture, balloon back to cane. A lot of visual magic happening in a short time.
  4. Cardslinger Contest – 3 members of the audience are each armed with a large catching net on a long pole, and they catch playing cards scaled into the audience by the performer. Comedy with unusual props!

Character Building

Scott discusses appearance, demeanour, consistency and style mantra of the performing magician. The performer has to find 5 words that best describe his performing persona.

Director’s Guide

This is stagecraft 101. Scott explains the various terms used in stage performance so that you can use them to communicate more efficiently with the stage technicians and stage hands. He mentions the various types of curtains, how to make an entrance, how to be in control of your performance, how to make a first good impression, and how to have a good introduction.

Very good advice from someonw who is experienced and knows what stage and parlour magic is all about. Excellent when viewed with the other 4 volumes. A must if you wish to perform professionally on stage.

Magic is our passion but we are not a magic shop ? You can purchase this here!

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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