Going into this lecture, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I knew Andrew Mayne to be this very creative guy who did some close up work, but who’s really known for taking big illusions and figuring out how to do them for ridiculously cheap. He was a problem solving mastermind who I imagined was on a first name basis with everyone at his local Home Depot. If I had any expectations, it was to see cheaper ways to do old stuff.
Little did I know that Mayne was a master storyteller with some incredibly direct and impromptu close-up material which I really regret passing up in the past!
Mayne began his lecture with his bowling ball production. Now, I’ve seen this effect before and it never really impressed me. Not because the method was obvious (I didn’t really know how it was done) but because I never thought it to have the impact of other production effects. I’ve got to say that seeing this live immediately changed my opinions about that! The sudden appearance and weight of the bowling ball filled the theatre with energy, and a great sense of “Yea, that just happened!”
Afterwards Mayne shared some of his reasoning on the effect such as the idea of using nothing but your body language to “show” that something isn’t there. It works!
Hyper Cards, Mayne’s impromptu linking card effect was next. This effect, along with most which would follow, gave an insight into what Mayne values in a trick: impromptu, examinable, and simplicity of method. Mayne is willing to sacrifice visual penetrations or flash restorations in order to borrow and hand out objects. The cool thing is, Mayne has invented ways to achieve this with effects which previously had to be kept out of reach for the most part.
Perhaps my favorite piece from the lecture (besides the hilarious stories and the Monkey Paw Trick- which needs to be seen live!) were Ghost Bills. How I managed to not add this to my repertoire all these years is beyond me! This is an impromptu bill through bill effect using borrowed money and is just as visual as Misled by Timothy Wenk. Incredible, inventive, and fairly simple to do. If you do close up, get it!
Between each trick, Mayne would share his background in magic and life, and told great stories about his time with David Copperfield and Penn and Teller. I never would have suspected that Andrew Mayne, the illusion creator, would be such a good story teller. Maybe i was being naive, but this really came as a surprise to me! The amount of time and detail he would commit to trick introductions was great. “Shiv,” his Bank Night meets Knife Stab routine, features a very interesting intro with touches of comedy and drama. In his card effect “Magic Mice,” Mayne sticks soundly to the silly plot that his deck is infested with invisible mice. It’s fun to watch. (BTW, if anyone is looking for a way to introduce their Rocky Raccoon, check out “Magic Mice” and do it on jumbo cards).
Overall, there was not a whole lot of material covered in comparison with other lectures. This is probably due to the sheer number of stories and insights into effects. But that’s not a bad thing! The impromptu nature of a lot of what Mayne shared means many of his effects will likely find a home in the attendees’ routines quickly. For example, everyone in that room can now perform a newspaper tear whenever they want. That’s pretty cool!
Mayne touched on illusions only once during the lecture, where he briefly shared a way to construct a Sword Basket for under $30.00 which would fit into a briefcase. He also has a very creative solution for how to build swords for the stage! He did go into terrific detail about his thinking behind illusions, and also how he landed his first cruise ship and spot with Cartoon Network!
Mayne’s final thoughts were “Give yourself permission to step up.” He is a strong advocate for just getting out there and doing it, whether you are ready or not. Do a good show and make your audience happy. That’s all that really matters!