As well as being an amazing place to perform, and one of the most fun gigs in showbiz, the Castle is one of the best places on the planet to work on new material. Four shows per night, times seven nights equals 28 shows worth of opportunity for experimenting, polishing, and getting feedback.
(And when I say “new material” I don’t mean completely raw brand new stuff. That isn’t likely to be good enough to share with an expectant crowd at one of the most prestigious venues in the world. Instead, I’m talking about material that basically works, but is still too new to have the weeks/months/years of polish and attention to detail that really make a routine glow.)
At a place like the castle, surrounded by some of the best magic-focused minds on the planet, the quantity and quality of feedback you can get is higher than almost anywhere else. You have to ask for it though. In a business filled with fragile egos, most people have learned not to give unprompted criticism for fear of upsetting a temperamental performer.
Whereas I have a routine I want to improve, and it needs some brutal critiquing.
The routine in question has been something I’ve been working on sporadically for several years, and only just recently reached a point where it’s good enough to show to a real audience.
The timing on that is fortuitous, since I really want to use it at the upcoming F.I.S.M. Magic World Championships, where I’m competing as the only Australian entrant. In fact, the main reason I’m in Hollywood at all right now is because the championships are looming and my routine really needs some work.
The 28 shows at the Castle this week, combined with the six shows I’m doing at the upcoming Hollywood Fringe Festival, plus the quality of feedback available in L.A., should get this routine over the line.
Or at least, I really hope so.