Bizarre Lecture9 Lees. Brief thoughts by David Lees.
Bizarre Magick is a very strange subject. Not only for the lay people who watch this type of performance but also for the performers who work in this field.
It appears that there are as many different definitions of Bizarrism as there are performers. It can range from the blood, guts and maggots performances through to heavy ritualistic Occult presentation but then down to simple storytelling (if there is such a thing as ‘simple’ story telling). All of it has a place in this strange, esoteric field.
When you think about it, Bizarrism can also cross the bridge between Mentalism and Psychic Entertainment. Many straight mentalism classics can be dressed very nicely into Weird presentations.
With all the emphasis we place on the dressing of our performance area (large or small), the presentation and atmosphere, Bizarre Magick can become close, personal and intimate like no other magical performance. Our beloved props serve their purpose well BUT they are only props, They are not the effect, they do not create the effect. The effect is created by the personality and storytelling skills of the performer, NOT his paraphernalia.
In my teenage years, I was held on the edge of my seat (like his audience) by the marvellous ghost stories told by Dave Allen in his long ago television series, Dave Allen At Large. For those who never saw him, he was a quiet mannered Irish comedy raconteur, very funny. During his show, he would change character as he told a ghostly tale.
lights would dim, so that half his face would fade into shadow. In a
calm, quiet voice he would begin to relate his tale. The audience would
go from nervous giggles as the lights dimmed to the absolute silence of
a tomb. Slowly the tale would unfold. With mere words he would weave
images in the minds of his audience, dragging them to the edge of their
seats. With bated breath they listened to every word as the story
gradually and finally reached it’s...CLIMAX. He had the audience in
the palm of his hand, yet, there was no ‘magic trick’, no burst of
flashpaper and no overly dramatic voice. Although these tales only
lasted a few minutes were told at the rate of one per show, now many
years later, anyone who remembers Dave Allen, remembers him for his
ghostly stories, that’s how strong an impact his performance had. If
you ever get to watch any re-runs or clips of this show you will see a
master storyteller at work.. As performers of Bizarre or Storytelling
Magic, this is the sort of lasting impression we should strive to leave
with OUR audience.
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