View Full Version : "stage" vs. "close-up" magic
1st September 2003, 03:58 AM
I recently found a copy of Martin Gardner's 'New Age' in a charity shop- a collection of some of his articles from various publications.
One of these articles makes a strong distinction between what he describes as 'stage' and 'close-up' magic. He basically asserts that 'stage' magicians need no magic skills, and could be replaced by actors.
Can anyone tell me if this is a widely held view, or just Gardner's opinion? I'd be interested to know what people consider to be 'stage' magic.
1st September 2003, 05:34 AM
I have to agree with him. Stage magic (which I enjoy) is mainly mechanical magic and could be worked by anyone. Successful stage magicians really need stage skills much more than close up that requires manipulative skills.
Its two totally different types of magic. In close up, you also need one on one people skills while on stage, you need a "stage presence".
1st September 2003, 02:25 PM
I much prefer close up, in that in stage magic the magician just looks mysterious, while the machinery and his gorgeous assistant do all the work.
Plus when I watch close up, I have a chance of being able to replicate the effect or get ideas, and the chances of me ever performing an illusion are very slim. A deck of cards and lots of pratice I can afford, a stage illusion is well beyond my means.
To me, the difference is that close up can be perform directly in front of the audience and at close range stage magic encompasses all the big effects. Think David Copperfield for this.
1st September 2003, 08:55 PM
I like the closeup tricks, they usually go faster, all the emphasis is on "the magic trick" rather than "the presentation".
I also like stage tricks for one reason: Screw ups tend to be in front of large crowds and captured on camera.
2nd September 2003, 03:15 AM
I think his distinction is between two very distinct forms of magic, but that there is a lot of cross-over. My chosen field is close-up card magic (and some coin magic), but I know that much stage magic does require great dexterity and skill, and isn't necessarily all about "trick boxes" etc.
Some kinds of card manipulation are suitable for stage work. Arm spreads, card productions, colour changes, and many other flourishes can look better on the stage than "up close". Then there are dove acts, rope acts, linking ring routines, escapology...the list goes on...
Conversely, there are many close-up effects which require no skill, and anyone can do...
3rd September 2003, 07:50 AM
Thanks for the replies, that's made it much clearer!
4th September 2003, 10:17 PM
I disagree with Gardner. Stage magic can be VERY demanding.
I once toyed with the idea of doing a stage show. I quickly found out that setting up all that equipment, putting together the music, choreographing your movements, projecting your voice, managing the technicalities of curtains, backdrops, stagehands, etc, etc, make it one of the most challenging types of magic there is.
Plus, as homunculus pointed out, many stage performers do cigarette manipulations, card productions, dove work, and many other feats of skill.
Perhaps Gardner was talking about stage ILLUSIONISTS, whose assistants do most of the work. ;)
Remember the action/adventure TV series of the '70s, "The Magician?"
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