"Mission Impossi-ball" and Safe Vs. Unsafe Spaces

"Mission Impossi-ball" and Safe Vs. Unsafe Spaces

Is it ethical to leave audiences believing "unsafe" magic was used?

Read Full Article

I've really been enjoying reading these articles. I'm curious, what's your opinion on unsafe places if the act is taking place around Halloween? Would you think that in that instance it'd be okay to not bring the audience back to a safe place?

Some of my favorite magic shows in the past have straddled the line between the safe and unsafe spaces spoken of in this article, though I have to draw attention to the fact it was some time ago I used to watch them and any haziness of recollection is bound to be part of the woven magics and not a thing to do with my creaky, age addled memory.

I say straddled as, while the shows in question were a gothic carnival and sideshow themed tv production that touched on some of the old school screaming and gore ridden techniques mentioned in the article and at no time did they ever within the show acknowledge that the illusions presented were just a trick (via showing the alive and whole assistant post sawing, for example).
Nevertheless you watched with the firm knowledge (albeit implied) that this wouldn't be passed for tv if the crew were dumping the corpses of assistants and, on occasion, the headline magician.
Then of course, there's the illegal cloning or diabolical resurrection rituals they'd have to be going through to get the cast ready for the next show...

I can imagine quite easily how many earlier audiences would have been less questioning of the unsafe space in which the magic takes place, but of course that would rely on the magician and team being complicit in the facade presented.
A little like wrestling and kayfabe in a loose sense.

Perhaps it's a little of the cynicism of the modern audience, combined with the number of loose lipped magicians over the years who have left magic with the implicit caveat that it is, after all, just a trick.
Magicians take you back to the safe space out of courtesy but even if they chose not to, I think we're canny enough to find our own way there.
I kinda like it when a magician does do that.
For those of us who enjoy it, we're allowed to pretend for a little while at least that we are indeed in that slightly more murky unsafe space where old magic used to dwell.

And Man:
I've really been enjoying reading these articles. I'm curious, what's your opinion on unsafe places if the act is taking place around Halloween? Would you think that in that instance it'd be okay to not bring the audience back to a safe place?

Thank you - I'm glad you've been enjoying them!

As far as your question goes, it really depends on the performance. I actually do fall under the category of magicians who are hostile towards spiritualists like John Edward because, among other things, they're using people's real loss and pain as a prop for their show. If it's something that is ethically wrong the rest of the year, it's not going to be okay on Halloween.

That said, I also think that it's next to impossible for a horror magic show to leave somebody in an unsafe space on Halloween for the simple reason that it's HALLOWEEN - the acting assumption the audience will make is that it's all just a show. You'd probably have to literally murder somebody on stage for real or maim a member of the audience to successfully cross that line on Halloween.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here