Sunday, June 5, 2016

'Baltasse' - Magician Yann Frisch

Taking a bit of a break from writing this magical Sunday and I'm going to share one of my favorite magical routines.


Yann Frisch is a French sleight-of-hand magician. The video itself is from a talk show called Vivement Dimanche. The routine is called Baltasse (combining the language's words for 'ball' and 'cup') and won the amazing Frisch FISM's grand prix in close-up magic in 2012. (There's a video that exists of both the championship performance, as well as an earlier video from 2012 that went viral that same year). I like this one for its angle and proximity to the performer. You get to see a lot more of his facial expressions and there's some fun subtlety to his performance.

I mean, what can I say about the performance?
First, I love magic routines that have a story, and this one has a man plagued and driven insane by the appearance and disappearance of red balls, mostly out of his cup of water. And all he wants is a drink.
Second, I love that it's a variation of Cups & Balls, which is a classic magician's routine. A nod of respect to history and legacy.
Third, the addition of non-magical elements can be tricky, such as juggling. But this guy adds in those elements beautifully. I also like the comedy he manages: his stretching, his head-bonk on the table, his different reactions to the balls basically having a mind of their own, whether it's disappointment, confusion, or resignation.
Fourth, the guy is just frikkin' fast. Check out 2:08. Moving the ball from his mouth to thin air is incredible. His showmanship is impeccable, because this comes out of a rather cool sequence where he's made three and then four balls appear, then making them disappear one at a time. The build and pace of it is just effortless and makes for a cool moment.
Fifth, it's a fun routine. Magic doesn't need to strive to be high art, it can often become that on its own. But this routine tells a story, cleanly and quickly, it's funny and charming, and the big moments sell big.

Always loved magic. As I got older, I gained an appreciation for the showmanship of it all, rather than simply the impressiveness of the illusion. Magic sadly isn't real, but there are moments in a routine as solid as this that make you doubt, if only for a moment, whether that's true or not.

Til next time!