Sunday, January 31, 2010

Project 365 (31/365): Russian Roulette

.:31/365: The Russian Roulette:.

Hi, Angela. It’s been a while.

One of the most dangerous routines of all time is the Russian Roulette. It’s a mentalism act that forces one to rely on his ability to determine if a person is lying or not. I strongly suggest that any mentalist who is just starting out steer clear of this routine until they are both very good at doing the lie detector test, and insured. Even the best professionals get this routine wrong, with often disastrous results.

Like any other mentalism act, the script is rather simple: there are several discs on a table. One of them will have a sharp knife attached to its end. Then, all discs are covered with cups or a cylinder to conceal the location of the knife, and the performer will crush each cylinder by hand one at a time, all with the hopes that none of them actually contains the knife. At each point, the mentalist will be asking the person who mixed up the discs if the spike is there, and the person is indeed required to lie.

I don’t always use this routine simply because it’s a very dangerous one, and will often require me to sign a waiver if I have intentions of performing it. Any organizer who books me would naturally be terrified of the prospect of having their main event impale himself on (in my case) a sharp spike, and knowing my work ethic, finish the show while bleeding like a stuck pig. It conjures very visceral images in the minds of the audience, and you can sense the sheer terror in the air.

I think that out of all the routines I perform, this one gets the strongest reactions because of the tension it creates for everyone. Most magic and mentalism routines produce a certain amount of drama, but the danger often found in acts can seem quite distant to the audience, since many have seen people escape from straightjackets and the like before, or disappear and reappear from one place to another. However, the stakes are insanely high in this act, and anyone can clearly see how terrifying it would be if one got it wrong. Some people think that it might be a case of accomplices, but I can assure you that it’s not. I even offer to pay the guy who manages to fool me into impaling myself. That way, they are motivated to lie better, what with the promise of not only getting me possibly lethally injured, but even compensated for it.

This is one of the best routines in a mentalist’s arsenal, ever. However, I would almost never want to end the show with such a performance because let’s face it, it does create a lot of tension and ends the show on a very agitating note.

Anyone else uses this routine? Let me know how you like it!


Qwertyman said...

Really do not understand why people persist in doing russian roulette tricks. One day it is certain to end in tears.

Marcelle said...

The same reason people do the infamous bullet catch, I guess.

My partner, Jay, already got it wrong once. He had to finish his show bleeding profusely.

Mark David said...

Hi! Great video. Hope you don't mind but I copied this to my blog and placed a back link naturally.

Thank you.