Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Project 365 (215/365): Paul Potassy

Oh-kay. So today's guesting on Unang Hirit was... less than optimal. Meh. I'd put them on blast for it, but I'm more inclined to stay my hand instead.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Carlos for being Nuffnang's new country manager! Yeba! Pa-burger ka naman!

.:Project 365 (215/365): Paul Potassy:.

Still actively performing at the tender age of 90++ years old, Paul Potassy is considered a living legend in the industry, standing out as a master of a single set of routines that he has strung together so well and so effectively for himself.

As a professional, nobody can possibly contest how good Potassy is as a performer, but what sets him apart is how smart and practical he actually is, having developed a killer set that he has never deviated from for decades, and emphasizing a character that allows him to get away with just about anything and everything, thanks to the very comforting note that he considers the best magic trick he has ever done to be wooing his Filipina wife, which means that many Filipino magicians have seen and heard from Paul Potassy himself over the decades.

There is no question that Mr. Potassy is skilled in sleight of hand and the fact that he uses real razor blades for his act instead of gimmicked razors is, altogether pretty amazing, too. It's the way he managed to string all these routines together and the utter simplicity of his working scripts that makes him impressive. With minimal props, he achieves the kind of traction people gain with massive stage shows with grand production values and elaborate set designs, and he achieves it with little over one bag and maybe a table or two.

As an inspiration for the adage that simplicity need not always be a bad thing for magic, Paul Potassy represents this school of thought very handily. His routines are smooth as silk, and his old age has certainly taken away a lot of the flamboyance in his routine, but his ability to speak six different languages allows him a chance to show off his brains and personality while doing what has to be one of the simplest silk tie magic routines one will ever witness, especially once you figure the method out.

I cannot think of a single person more appropriate to watch and learn from when it comes to getting the hang of getting started on parlor and stage magic. His entire routine doesn't need any expensive props whatsoever, and the results he can achieve with them are just astounding for the rate of investment. While I wouldn't advise you to copy his set effect for effect, I would suggest one look at the way he strung these effects together, the simple nature of each effect, and the overall results these things combined can deliver.

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