All ten years, I create a new act. This time it will be a manipulative act for the small stage/parlour. In my past, I already had some experience with a manipulation act. I always was fond of this branch of magic. With these little articles, I will try to document the evolution of the act. Maybe this can be of help if you want to create one yourself. There isn’t too much of good, novel and interesting material on this branch of magic.
To start the act, I will break some rules. Otherwise, I would sit there thinking for ages and dreaming of the act instead of bringing it onto the stage. So I will not think of a plot, or theme or other fancy and sophisticated stuff, but will start right away with the material I already own, know or can get access to. I will not think of proper routines or clever sleights now, but decide on a few props, experiment with them and see what ideas appear along the road. A very simplistic and direct approach in creating an act.
So I built a chest. This rests on a tripod stand table, which will at the time be one of my stage props. Maybe I will change, but for now I am happy. It resembles the chest Fred Kaps was using. Most manipulators use chests, as Kaps seemed to be our model. Richard Ross used it, Ger Copper, Tommy Wonder, and many more. Chests are magic; they somehow belong to that picture. So why not using one? It was good enough for the greats, so it would be more than good for Mr de Cova.
For the time being, I will go classic and do that, too. At least it helps me to start a routine and play around. I could have followed Tommy Wonder’s advice and just used a simple cardboard box, but then the more expensive wooden box will force me into action and it is much more fun to experiment with.
I obtained a great multiplying bottle set that looked more or less like Whisky bottles. I enjoy the Multiplying Bottles, but will not use them in the traditional way (tubes and glass, etc.). I will use them as production objects. Because of the nesting feature there should be some amazing and impossible looking productions possible. Maybe I will have to check out Tom Stone’s ideas on the bottles.
The other objects are already on the table: saltshakers, jumbo coins and normal coins, glasses, bottles, a vanishing cane in newspaper, for which I already constructed a different handling along with a very special construction of the cane/knob, which makes everything easier and more convincing. More about that later.
The salt shakers will be used as a running gag, appearing in between the segments, like a spell. I have more than thirty of these shakers (I bought them in a craze), so I use them. Maybe the salt pour, because that is a natural. Also have some ideas are to use the bottle corks for a thimble magic type of routine. Great, when the bottle corks from the bottles haunt me and appear at my finger tips on their own will. In my routine, the corks would make sense. Thimbles wouldn’t.
Speaking of thimbles: years ago I did the colour changing gloves as a running gag during manipulation. I think I will incorporate that one. Seems to be a nice idea when the gloves appear in different colours during the act.
Besides the usual gimmicks like a pull system or a thumb tip there will also some silks be used. So far pretty standard requisites, but then the combination and novel effects will make the difference.
There will be a routine with real billiard balls. I already have them, six white ones and a dozen coloured ones. Maybe the production of a billiard queue would fit as well and the triangle. We’ll see.
For now I am happy – the act has started, and I have my first rudimentary props. Now the creative work may begin!