Bad Magic

In my previous blog post I talked about how I planned on an impressive experiment demonstrating the wisdom of crowds could go wrong as an amusing moment. In discussion with my tutor, we agreed this gave my performance the tone of a magician’s trick that goes wrong at the end. The awkwardness of a magic trick going wrong can be very amusing at times. Good magicians often include moments where their tricks have seemingly gone wrong to provide comedy or to mislead an audience about what the actual trick will be. In discussion with my peers I was encouraged that I should subtly attempt to hang the lampshade. “Lampshade hanging” is used in scriptwriting when a creator want to draw awareness to their own flaws in the narrative to remove ammunition from critics and audience members. A famous example of this is in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Sir Toby Belch: Is it possible?

Fabian: If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

(Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene IV)

The characters discuss the ridiculousness of their own scenario before the audience gets a chance to. I would need to do this to some level with my failed magic trick to make it clear that I had actually scripted it to go wrong so the audience don’t walk away critical of something I had intended to happen. Fortunately, the words of the crossword forming my script are the perfect device to do this. For instance, I could say that the trick not working wasn’t “IDEAL” or ironically worry that the “CUE” words in the script won’t work once the trick goes wrong.

For the finale of my performance I plan on getting frustrated about the audience participation going wrong and proclaiming that I can solve the Rubik’s cube myself in 30 seconds, blindfolded. Again, this is not something I can actually do, so it will go wrong to both be comical and hopefully provide a thought provoking ending. A magic trick which intentionally goes wrong is an unusual way to end a show but hopefully it can leave the audience with something that questions the nature of constantly wanting to solve puzzles without any feasible end. Obsessions and addictions don’t have an end and always leave the addict wanting more. This is something I want to replicate in my performance with an intentionally inconclusive ending.

Bad Magic

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