Sunday, April 11, 2010

Project 365 (101/365): The Electric Chair

.:101/365: The Electric Chair:.

Paul Daniels makes a name for himself with this routine, which combines hypnosis and linguistic triggers with a very hilarious package only he can bring.

The Electric Chair routine is amazingly simple because contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t require any special chairs or the like. Paul Daniels has a masterful grasp of how to manipulate his volunteers any which way he wants them, and he has been known to bring on the laughs in the middle of amazing magic. This routine is testament to his abilities, and nobody can question the man’s dedication to making something work when nobody else thinks it would.

With a very simple script and the reactions of his volunteers carrying him through the entirety of the routine, Paul Daniels’s Electric Chair is a spectacular feat in audience management, and never ceases to amaze me. He has this very slick approach, a very suave and debonair demeanor about him that never fails to put his volunteers at ease, and then he just shoots for the moon and does what he can to really make the audience laugh at the sheer absurdity of the situation. The distrustful looks on his volunteer’s faces at some point in the routine never fails to amuse me. It just shows how they feel very surprised all of this is happening, and they’re not really sure why they’re still sticking around in their chairs, yet they find it interesting and impressive enough to keep going despite the apparent discomfort they may feel being electrocuted in their seats.

Some people insist this is done with stooges, but it’s really hard to convey the looks these volunteers have on their faces if it were pure stooging, really. They look incredulous, they look surprised, and it’s the subtle tells in their faces that give you that hint. There are no blatant signposts on their parts, but ultimately, they’re having a good time as the routine unfolds right before their eyes.

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