I’m happy to report (to myself) on the latest progress of the Houdini-inspired stage illusion that I’ve been developing for the Suitcase of Wonders for some time. When last I put pen to diary regarding the Wall it was October, 2019, where I wrote:
“My version of Walking Through a Brick Wall is predicated on the building of the wall onstage in real time using actual mortar and miniature cement bricks. The construction of the wall takes approximately eight minutes while the audience sits and enjoys refreshments and a live musician. The transposition itself occurs in the blink of an eye, and afterwards I give the wall away to a lucky spectator as a treasured souvenir.”
While I still plan to perform this long version of the Wall at some point, I like the trick too much to relegate it to rare occasions - the attributes that make the performance unique (a live accompanying musician, eight minutes of watching a wall being built, giving the entire wall away) are also what make it prohibitive to perform regularly. The long version is more suited as a performance piece for special occasions.
I’ve now developed a second, shorter version of Walking Through a Brick Wall that I’m pleased to add to the regular programme. It will run something like this:
The curtain rises to reveal what appears to be a moderately-sized cinderblock wall sitting on a thin black base at the center of the stage, a few stray blocks strewn about nearby. After a moment for the audience to ponder what they’re looking at, a forklift is driven out from behind the wall. Standing atop a wooden palette that the forklift is carrying, is Smallini, the evening’s magician.
Smallini stands next to the wall as the stray blocks are gathered up and stacked on the palette. One block is handed to an audience member to examine and keep. The forklift then drives away as two workers with hard hats enter the stage and stand next to the wall, inspecting it. Mr. Widdle assists in the inspection by lightly tapping the wall at various spots with a wooden mallet, showing the wall to be solid.
Satisfied, the workers depart, leaving Smallini alone on the stage with the wall, bathed in blue light. The wall is turned ninety degrees and the magician stands on the right side of it. A decorative wooden frame with a red curtain is brought out and placed over the wall, in such a manner that half the wall is protruding through the opening in the middle of the split curtain.
Twice, the right side of the curtain is lifted, showing Smallini standing behind it. Immediately after the curtain is dropped the second time, the frame is quickly lifted - revealing Smallini to be standing on the other side of the wall!
The wall is turned back to its original position and the magician stands in front of it as the Suitcase of Wonders curtain is lowered.
I am quite pleased to have this fun and dramatic routine join my regular repertoire, with the longer version on deck for a special occasion one day down the line.