It was fun being back, although sobering talks about animal cruelty offset with explanations about gay lingo made for a very interesting morning, to say the least. It's good to know that the show went very well, and everyone was on the same page to start the week off right.
.:68/365: The Shanghai Shackles:.
It’s one of my signature routines.
The Shanghai Shackles would be one of the most popular routines I’ve been using for years, and with good reason. If there are two things I’m known for, one is mentalism, and the other is comedy magic.
This routine is technically an escapology routine, but it plays so well for comedy, simply because there’s nothing more amusing than to see rapid-fire in and out moves playing off with rapid-fire patter. There are so many different ways to present this, but for me, the comedic approach works best simply because it allows you to make people laugh but make them still think and wonder how in heaven’s name you pulled off the entire routine.
The (fictional) history of the Shanghai shackles is very colourful. Hailing from Shanghai (duh), the shackles were created to restrain the most maniacal of criminals and prevent them from utilizing chopsticks properly to eat. This forced them to eat with their hands, thereby impugning themselves and resulting in a loss of self-respect. Most prisoners ended up killing themselves in shame.
Others learned to like eating their hands, migrate to the Philippines, and become Capampangans.
Not-so-accurate history aside, this bit of escapology is one of the best routines in my book because it really gets people’s attention. I like performing it on a close-up setting, contrary to popular notion, simply because if you know how to manage the crowd, the fact that it’s that up close and personal can only amaze them even more.
Sir Lou Hilario made it a point to mention that I do the shackles close-up. It seems to me that I was one of the few people who did that, and I’m glad I did, because whether I did it in the middle of the street completely surrounded by onlookers or I did it at a restaurant table, the Shanghai Shackles is one of the best bits of escapology I have ever had. I’ve known several people who have actually asked me for dimensions for my shackles, or tried to duplicate my routine, but they can learn the mechanics of the escape, but there’s no way they could just pick up the subtleties, the panache, and the flair I have injected into the routine that is uniquely me. Ultimately, isn’t that what separates the true performers from those who just know how to do magic?