Thursday, March 14, 2013

The problem between here and there.

One of the problem I have between where I'm at and where I want to go is that I don't see anywhere for the three shell game to fit in what I want to be performer wise. Sort of, I mean I want to basically be a bizarre pitchman. You know like the guy selling miracle medicine from the side of a wagon, but with arcane artifacts instead of medicine. So conman fits in. I see basically three sides to the character, a psychic reader, a MC, and the mage selling magical items. Setting aside all the time and money I've spent learning the shell, I just plain love doing it. I always have fun with it. But I can't risk the damaging the validity of my character with it. I could explain that I win cause my intuition lets me keep one move ahead of the mark, so I think my biggest worry is that the shell game may be too finger flickery,  a lot of people warn against that when presenting mentalism and bizarre magic. I really don't want people to start questioning the other things I claim to do because I also do the shells.


  1. So they buy the toad gizzards you're pitching, and you offer them a chance at a free basilisk tongue or whatever. They just have to find the newt's eye under the shells. If they win, they get the freebie. If they lose, you collect... a blood sample, their soul, a clipping of hair which you preserve in a tiny bottle of fluid...

  2. So I can't tell if you are serious or not but you may have missed the point, the problem is not where I fit it in thematically but the risk it poses to the validity of my character. Much like how you don't see mentalists doing the ambitious card.

  3. He may not be that far off the mark... What I mean by that, is that sometimes a simple shift in your patter and presentation can alter radically the way a certain trick is perceived, thus allowing it to fit in with your general persona when it seemed hardly compatible at first. Although it *is* a bit of a tough sell, it is by no means impossible to include an ambitious card routine in a mentalist or mentalist-like act: you just have to work extra-hard not to make it look off-character (which is exactly what I do).
    In your case, the way I perceive it, the main problem with the shell game is that it is almost universally perceived as a display of skill, one of those "the-hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye" kinds of things, as opposed to a magical phenomenon. Therefore, if you want to keep it in your bizarre act, you have to break that image and induce a more magical perception of the trick in your spectators. Personally, I would do that by shifting the focus from the game-like nature of the trick to the objects themselves, and suggest they possess supernatural properties - of which the game constitutes but an 'accidental', dishonest use (with just a little more imagination you could even ditch the game thing altogether, although I don't think it would be necessary in your case). First, I'd use shells that look like ancient artifacts. Then my pitch would go somewhat like this: "Welcome to the Asbjorn Curio Shop, dear Sir! He he, I see you're looking at my set of gambling cups... These three strange vessels used to belong to a 13th century Frenchman who made quite a reputation in his time, some claiming he was a great sorcerer, others that he was a mere conman. The truth is, he excelled at both of those equally-hated endeavours. He allegedly made a fortune off naive gamblers at the infamous three-shell game... What his unfortunate victims didn't know as he won the shirt off their back, is that two of the seemingly ordinary cups used by Quentin de l'Arnaque, who was an accomplished practitioner of the dark arts, were really the entrance and exit - respectively - of a mystical passage, a dimensional gate created through some unholy ritual. Therefore, when placed in the right cup, the game token would travel to another one, thus making it impossible even for the sharpest medieval merchant to accurately locate it, regardless of how attentively he could follow the willingly slow movements of its original container. Let me demonstrate the surprising properties of these evil instruments of ruin..."
    Well, you get the idea. ;)