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Old 04-02-03, 02:44 PM   #1
Juggalicious
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Post What to do for my act - needs immediate fixing!

Hi,
I'm part of a Juggling group known as Juggalicious, as well as a group show I have a solo show. We have been performing infrequently over the past 2 to 3 years but I have gotten a lot of solo stuff at local fairs. Last year I decided to audition for Faneuil Hall in Boston, I got to the audition figuring I wouldnt get it but it would still be a great experience to have. So I went I did not so well because it was one of my very first solo performances. My act was boring and was only filled with juggling - no shticks or bits or anything just straight juggling with tricks... I knew that I needed something to make me stick out from everyone else. So from that point on I was determined to find something good... I spent that summer doing shows - I still had no shtick but it was building up my skills as a performer and audience interactions... and then finally one day in the middle of November I got the idea...

I cut an apple if half on someones head...

I don't want to go through all the details of it - but I never actually cut the apple in half but the audience member is fooled into believing that it is... it's not a magic trick or anything it just involves a blindfold - and a good audience... but anyways I came up with this great bit that can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on how long I stretch it... so I have this great bit- which I have done 3 or 4 times and everytime no one can stop talking about it.... and I have a spot in Faneuil Hall but there is a problem...

Last year when I auditioned I remembered them stating that you could not juggle knives... now in the letter it states that knives cannot be used in any performance.... so I have a dilemma on what to do ... if I was able to do my bit along with my now increased juggling skills - Im positive that I would have a superb chance at getting a spot... but without the knife thing I dont have a trademark bit that will make me stick out....

so I was thinking - maybe I could still do the bit but tell the audience that Faneuil Hall wont allow the use of knives
so I will do it with a rolling pin? and then tell everyone that I will cut the apple in half with a rolling pin? and then do everything else exactly the same?

Or should I drop the bit and think of something else... but I dont want to drop the bit because I work with some other jugglers (Fly By Night) and they always say never drop a good bit... so I dont know what to do... I've already emailed Faneuil Hall and asked them to specify knives to see if I could some how manage around being able to use a knife...

Any and All help would be great....
Alex
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Old 04-02-03, 09:56 PM   #2
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is there any reason I havent gotten any responses?
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Old 04-02-03, 10:57 PM   #3
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Use a credit card
Sorry, what was I thinking, you don't simply want to cut the apple , you need to infer some dangerous method.
A boomerang?
A stuffed bunny with razor sharp incisors.

[ 04-03-2003: Message edited by: martin ewen ]</p>
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Old 04-03-03, 06:20 PM   #4
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Get a $10 bill from one of your audience and use it to "cut" the apple.
You can also work it into a mid-show hat prompt.

Chain or circular saw, hedge-clippers (hand or battery/electric), papier mache swordfish or even the razor sharp wit of George Dubya Shrub?

[ 04-04-2003: Message edited by: Peter Voice ]</p>
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Old 04-03-03, 07:03 PM   #5
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There may be other ideas out there, but I think Peters is the best.
The mid show hat propt as well as any humor you can get out of getting and using the money is great.
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Old 04-03-03, 07:34 PM   #6
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I was applying myself to the mere slicing of the apple too but then realised that its probably the blindfolded volunteer with the mock danger and the other volunteer brought on after the first ones blindfolded and the audience playing along.
(Knife throwing farce comedy--oldie but a goodie if done well)
Or a variation with or without the second volunteer.
So i realised that whatever was used had to be something impressively dangerous to the person being blindfolded which puts a slightly different take on it.
"I am now going to throw this tenner at your head".... "um well ok then"
Could you elaborate as to what the knife does so we can replace it in context.
I'm confused,
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Old 04-03-03, 09:52 PM   #7
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They said no knives. What about a massive broadsword?
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Old 04-03-03, 10:57 PM   #8
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What about a massive broad?
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Old 04-03-03, 11:13 PM   #9
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Martin, you can get a very nasty paper cut from a $10 bill.
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Old 04-04-03, 12:53 AM   #10
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We need to know if you are doing the COD knife throwing routine. Standard rountine, Blinfold duplcate knife on the back of a board. crowd calls 54321 etc etc.

If you are, then you still need to use somthing a little dangerous to sell the bit correctly. If its not this old classic, (which by the way is still fantasic if done right). If not you could use some comedy prop just as the old jugger routine, who is not allowed to juggler fire torches, juggles flash lights (called torches in the UK)

Dont give it away if you dont want to, but there is THAT ONE STANDARD ROUNTINE which from your description is just that.

More info so we can help please.

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Old 04-04-03, 02:50 AM   #11
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You want ideas? Think of 'em yourself! Everyone here has enough trouble coming up with their own show let alone writing someone else's! Take a clown class or work with an improv theatre company or better yet go to harvard square and just do shows. Play 'hit or miss' with yourself -- in other words if it works keep it and if it sucks, abandon it.

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Old 04-04-03, 08:07 AM   #12
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As 'Everyone here's' already been spoken for, I'd like to speak for 'Those few contrarians among us' who see p.net as one resource among many and just as valid as any keith Johnston structured impro clique, any clown school or workshop. (both of which are of course as plentiful and available as the computer sitting in your room.)
Some of us selfishly delude ourselves into thinking we may be able to be helpful and enjoy the option of trying to solve given problems.
You choose for yourself which methods and resources you employ to advance whatever performance ambitions you have.
Someone asking for help is by definition vunerable and someone who attacks the vunerable is by definition insecure.
(I should know, I'm permanently in attack mode except for those brief periods when I'm helpful)

[ 04-04-2003: Message edited by: martin ewen ]</p>
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Old 04-04-03, 09:09 AM   #13
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It seems pretty obvious that the routine you want to use, is out of question, considering your venue. Do not drop the bit, use it in the correct place, at the correct time. Faniuel hall- no fire, no knives, not the correct place or time. Find another routine that you can use here. thats my suggestion. In my opinion, the best way to be a better performer is to rely on yourself, not your act, and learn to adapt. you have time before the audition, get to work! good luck.
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Old 04-04-03, 09:16 AM   #14
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Alex,

Don't be put off by lp, your request for help is welcomed at this forum.

"never drop a good bit..." may be sound enough advice, but you are learning that not all material is appropriate for every venue. In this case, you are having to modify a routine involving a knife, but the situation could have easily been caused by one of many different conflicts. Inappropriate content (dirty jokes etc.), dangerous contents (fire, knives, etc.) or even size (large props) are all going to influence what sort of routine you can present in a given venue. For that matter, even if you are able to physically execute something in your repertoire, it may not play well under certain circumstances because the crowd is too large, or too small, or there may be a language barrier...

My point is that there are going to be many opportunities for you to perform under various conditions, and none of them are going to offer you the perfect situation for all of your favorite material. The issue that you raise with knives is a common one since there are lots of venues which don't allow danger props of any kind. You are going to have to resolve the situation eventually, even if Faneuil Hall works out in your favor, or else risk not being able to work in those venues.

If you like the routine, keep it, but don't think that it is the be-all and end-all. You are going to have to continue to write and build for the duration of your career, so get in the habit now by not allowing yourself to lean on crutches. After all, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to hear that bit that you are so proud of now becomes something that gets cut from your show in the future and replaced by something better.

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Old 04-04-03, 09:37 AM   #15
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Alex.

I agree with Steve on this one. Your time may be better spent on thinking of an entirely new bit instead of beating your head against the wall to make this one fit. I am relatively new to this and learned this the hard way not so long ago. I, however did not know about this forum at that time and had to muddle through. It was a true learning experience. Good Luck! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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Old 04-04-03, 03:55 PM   #16
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Hey guys, I dont throw the knife or anything all I do is blindfold the volunteer then place an apple already cut in half on the groud near the volunteer then when I pretend to cut the apple I just take it off and hide it so when unmasked the volunteer believes that it was cut on his/her head. I also go through a segment before the volunteer is blindfolded where I "practice" cutting the apple in half on a styrofoam head-- and when I go for the test run I stab the head and the knife gets stuck...

I know I need to come up with a new bit... it's just that the audition is the only time I would have to try the bit - and I don't want to try a BRAND NEW routine out at an audition for a top notch place-

I realize that I will need new material in the future I just don't have anything right now- and while I am trying to think of another bit I don't want to risk doing something that will fail miserably at the audition... I would rather do something that I know will work and is funny.
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Old 04-04-03, 04:40 PM   #17
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How about this, just for a different perspective, are you auditioning, or is the bit auditioning. You dont have to do the best trick, you just have to be your best. I auditioned for the hall a several years ago, and did a bad ass trick, but did not get called, instead of taking my time and doing my best to show them who I am or what my personality is like, I relied on my best technical material, which was inappropriate for the venue. Make them like you, because thats what its all about. People tip an act because they like the performer, not the skill. you can do it. try juggling 3 balls and some really good personality, some clean jokes, whatever. You are the one who has to give them what they want, not what you want.
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Old 04-04-03, 05:15 PM   #18
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Here's my advice:

Rehearse. Go to a neutral space, set up a video camera and just jam in front of it. Improvise. Throw out ideas. Create. Even if it's awful. Especially if it's awful. Then watch the tape. Watch it again and then a third time. Note which ideas you liked and chuck everything else.

Go back and rehearse again this time go back to your 'good ideas' and try and take them further. Try new stuff. Watch the tape three times and take notes. Then go back and do it again and again and again and again...

Acting is ACTION and your probably not going to get much better by talking about it or thinking about it or watching videos. If that were the case I'd be a seven club juggler by now and Roger Ebert would be a fantastic film-maker.

Good luck,


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Old 04-04-03, 06:09 PM   #19
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are you trying to say that roger ebert is a bad filmmaker-!!

Thats what I want to do show them the funny me the part of me that everyone likes- thats why this part of my audition would be good because it shows who I really am=
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Old 04-04-03, 07:22 PM   #20
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Although I understand what others are going for with the "show them who you are" idea, I disagree with it in this context. An audition for a performing spot is about auditioning the material. You aren't going for a role in a scripted play, you are showing your act, and the auditioners are going to be imagining how that act would fit in with their venue. If they have a "no knife" rule, then I would expect that a routine relying on a knife would not be considered, and my not even be viewed.

If I were sitting behind the audition table, I would stop the routine as soon as the knife made it's first appearance. Good, bad or indifferent, bottom line is that it isn't allowed and won't fit the bill.

Tell you what, if you are so concerned with winning this particular spot, why don't you either contact the people who lead the auditions, or at the very least get in touch with some of the other performers who already work the pitch? Ask their advice about which bits would make the most convincing audition, and either show them live, or play them a video. Don't try to "explain" the routine - it never works and nobody will "get it" through narrative. Pick your friends carefully and don't be surprised to find that not everyone wants to help, but given the camaraderie of P.net, and what I have witnessed first hand at MotionFest, I suspect you could find one or two allies who would give you an honest critique and help you present yourself in the best possible way.

There is always the chance that you won't get the gig. Although I hear that FH offers a good pitch, there are performing and learning opportunities all around. You may have to go looking for them, but with a little faith and a lot of sweat, anything is possible.

Steven Ragatz

[ 04-04-2003: Message edited by: Steven Ragatz ]</p>
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