‘The best lecture I’ve seen in over thirty years’ was the verdict of one seasoned member at the end of Oliver Tabor’s presentation on ‘Stage Magic: Perceptions, Principles and Psychology’.
Oliver began by performing a totally different act from his after-dinner offering, then deconstructed it in meticulous detail to illustrate all of the thought-processes which had been brought into play.
The routine involved a fiendishly simple, but startlingly effective, silk-through-neck and the sudden appearance (around the neck) of a tie upon the bursting of a balloon – later embellished with a shower of confetti. Bubbles were blown and caught in a gloved hand, subsequently turning into a solid white ball before becoming a silk. A volunteer assistant wearing an over-sized jacket then took part in an amusing sequence which culminated in the appearance of a dove at his own fingertips.
Oliver dealt with classics such as the French drop, and had a lot of pertinent advice to offer relating to details such as the making-up of the bubble fluid, the use of Velcro in place of buttons, techniques for sleeving and the repetition of moves to lull the audience, bringing the magic to you rather than going to the magic. There was a torn-and-restored tissue using a thumb-tip on a pull and a discussion of Ali Bongo’s silk-to-rose effect, all accompanied by hints on how to ‘de-fluff’ an act. There was also detailed advice on holders and gimmicks, from Arsene Lupin’s ingenious production of a glass full of liquid to the use of a sock and a jumbo paper clip – one of which was provided free with each set of lecture notes!
In the second half Oliver talked about the training of doves, along with many illuminating anecdotes. He talked about methods, the length of time required, licences and feeding – giving valuable tips about not missing a day of training (or you will have to start all over again), always using the same bird for the same trick and not changing your costume or you will not be recognised! It was a lively discussion which certainly enthused some of our younger members, who continued to question Oliver at the end of the day.
In the accompanying notes, Oliver drew together his ten ‘Collected Principles and Rules of Stage Magic’, expanding upon those from Roy Benson by Starlight by Levent and Todd Carr.
It was, indeed, a memorable event to round off a splendid weekend of magic and conviviality.