Social Distancing Show Tips From Griffin And Jones

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Since y’all (hey, I’m half American, just go with it) seemed to enjoy Oliver Tabor’s account of doing a stage show online, here’s another guest post about performing in these strange times.

If you don’t know them, Steve Griffin and Nathan Jones are a beautifully bantering, endlessly entertaining, multiple-Edinburgh-Fringe-shows-a-day performing magic duo. I’ve known them for years, through bumping into them at various fringe festivals and The Session.

They recently did a weekend of socially-distanced outdoor stage performances. Afterwards, Nathan shared a few lessons on social media, so I asked if I could reprint them here along with a few photos, and they kindly agreed.

Okay, over to them:

Findings from “Griffin and Jones’ Secret Garden Magic Show”

We premiered our new show “Griffin and Jones’ Secret Garden Magic Show” last weekend in Brighton and I thought I’d share some findings as it might help other stage acts.

1. Getting An Audience

It was a ticketed show and we only had 10 days to sell the show with very little promo and marketing. (25-seat garden venue, 5 shows over 3 days). But what I think we learnt is, “if you build it, they will come”. Some people are still hesitant to come out to see live entertainment, but there are enough people who are desperate for it and will snap at the chance.

2. Adding New Interactions

Finding new and novel ways to interact with them now we can’t get them up on stage or be among them is key. Make them feel special and involved. We could have just done an hour of Cut and Restored Rope, Cups and Balls, and flashy visual stuff but it would lose what our act is about.

Disguising mentalism as fun games that they can join in with has always been a favourite of ours and those moments really made the show exciting. (Think stuff like a quirky Confabulation or prediction effect!)

3. Acknowledging The Situation

Address the elephant in the room and either move on or paint it red. The audience knows that the game has changed and it feels weird for them too. So acknowledge that, in spite of the situation, you’re going to put on the best damn show you know how to, and you’re all going to have a bloody good time.

Lastly, clearing up after 25 people have done Woody Aragon’s Love Ritual and thrown the cards in various flower beds is a pain in the arse! (The cards were sanitised and put in plastic bags on their seats before they came in.)

For more Griffin & Jones goodness, mosey on over to their website at griffinandjones.co.uk

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