by Pipo Villanueva
Published: Last Updated on

This is one of our favorite tricks from all of Gabi’s repertoire. At a technical level, it’s just a couple of simple techniques and a classic sleight that’s rarely used these days. The effect within is also known (along the lines of the “Partagás Sell” or “Dunbury Delusion”), but what has been changed entirely is the approach.

In the classical effect, after losing the chosen card in the deck and shuffling, the magician takes out three cards to help him find the selection, being one of them “accidentally” the chosen one. Then he asks the spectator for a number, deals as many cards as the given number, putting the card at that position on the table. Now, the magician asks about the identity of the card, the spectators names it and seemingly everything is going to be wrong. The magician, however, after a pause turns face up that card, revealing that magically, it is the selection. After the surprise, the magician arises suspicion about the three card he previously put on the table and, after playing around for a while (and almost blinking his eye), he reveals that the chosen card is not there.

When approaching this trick, Gabi changed the order of the events and removed the classic sucker finale (that annoying “gotcha” feeling) from this kind of effect through an apparent failure due to the spectator “not believing.” When he asks that they believe and once they’ve accepted his plea… the three cards on the table are turned over to remember the position indicated by the last one (not to demonstrate that the chosen card is not there) and suddenly… everything changes. The spectator’s perspective shifts dramatically and suddenly they hope for the trick to work, without worrying about how. When counting again the cards the spectator already know and DESIRES that the card in that position is going to be the chosen one.

With minor changes in the routine but with a completely different magician’s gaze upon it, the experience of the spectator has nothing to do. In the first case, after making believe the audience that the card you put on the table is not the chosen one because it is already among the three you previously removed, the magician “through his magic” triumphally transposes the failure with the chosen card, changing it. In Gabi’s case, the spectator’s pact of believing changes reality and at the end,  it is as if the magician wasn’t aware about the apparent failure. As Woody Aragón said, while conversating about the difference between the classical routine and Gabi’s take, in the first case you change one card into another and in Gabi’s case what you change is the spectator.

For us, this is one of the effects that best defines the often mis-interpreted fictional magic, which doesn’t consist of telling stories, legends or playing a character (fictional magic is one thing, magic with fiction is another).  Instead, without our art losing any impossible conditions, offers the spectator an interesting proposition, so that they’re emotionally hooked, with the impossibility as a vehicle and not as a means to an end. Fictional magic does not allude to the trickery (understood as secret method) but, in order not to lose clarity, the initial situation is clearly defined and other concepts re-enforce the impossibility by actions, not words, choosing carefully your speech to avoid talking explicitly about the “trickery”, without distorting the spectators’ experience.

The video corresponds to Gabi’s 24 hours magic show at Rey de la Magia in 2012

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