Party Planning Guide
Edutainment Schools Libraries   Kid's Birthday    For Adults  Walking Around   Mentalism   Features/Shorts   Stage Illusions   Lie Detector Lecture   Medieval Background   Party Planning Guide

 Seating    Indoor vs. Outdoor    Pets    Setting Up    Additional Activities   Pet the Bunny    Sales & Souvenirs    Games    Magic Rainbow    Magic Workshop    Ideas for Children's Party    Renaissance Background    Decorating    Games    Menu Ideas   

Seating
Try to arrange the "theater" (room where you have the actual show) so that everyone has a good seat and so that audience volunteers can easily navigate their way on "stage." It's best if children do not sit on the floor (see Birthday Party Suggestions below).

Parents should either sit with children or in the row right behind. When parents sit in the back they sometimes chat amongst themselves and distract from the show.

Viewing angles are important. The audience should be directly in from of the magician. If people sit so as to have a side view, we will have to delete certain effects from the show which may result in a shorter show.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Show
We can perform our magic indoors or outdoors; but performing outdoors limits what we can do. A breeze can ruin our silk effects, knock over our backdrop curtain and blow our props off the table. We can't use a bunny outdoors lest he escape and disrupt the show. Harsh lighting outdoors also limits which effect we can use.  so when you have a choice, indoors is preferable.

Outdoor performances also expose our equipment to fading, dirt and other damage. So we charge an additional fee for outdoor shows.  The amount of the fee varies depending on circumstances (For example, the additional fee is lower if we are under cover such as in a tent or enclosed by a fence).
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We Love Pets;
but sometimes they can be a problem. Dogs, cats and some other pets are natural predators of rabbits. Even if they are well behaved, our bunny will be frightened by them. So keep your pets closed in another part of the house.
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Setting up
We will need time alone to set up our equipment prior to the performance.  For home shows it takes 30-60 minutes to set up. Stage illusion shows require several hours of setup time in addition to any practice with your sound and lighting crews.
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Additional Activities
Typical home and club magic shows last between 45 minutes and an hour.  Stage Illusion shows, or course, are longer and usually involve an intermission.  So in most cases there is no need for additional activities. But we can help you develop and orchestrate related additional activities when desired. We can also promote these activities during our performance.
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Pet the Bunny
Children (of all ages) like to pet our magic bunny following the performance.  We are happy to hold the bunny while the children line up to take turns petting.  Remember, however, that rabbits are wild animals and they have sharp teeth and claws. Our bunny is gentle when we hold it and the children pet under our supervision.

Since the bunny's appearance during our show should be a surprise, please do not mention the bunny prior to our performance.
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Sales and Souvenirs
We offer several items that make good souvenirs of our performance. We have 25 inch inflatable wands  (black with white tips), and professional old-style precious wood wands (very classy).  We also offer a 24-page Magic and Activity Fun Book. The booklet contains 7 easy-to-learn tricks along with games, puzzles, optical illusions, stunts, an autograph page, and coloring pages. These items are perfect for birthday "goodie bags"  See our Shopping page for more items and pricing. We will be happy to set up a table to sell these items after a theater performance or you can sell them to raise funds for your organization. We will not sell items at your show without your permission.

You may wish to take instant pictures of children petting the bunny. You can give these away or sell them.
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Games
You can modify many popular games to fit the theme of our show or hire us to design and lead the games following out show. Most of the games we select encourage teamwork. Some involve competition but never violence. (No fencing with wooden swords.) Some Renaissance games are described below. Although we carry liability insurance for accidents during our performance, we will accept no liability for accidents that happen on your property during game play.
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Magic Rainbowg
The Magic Rainbow is actually a colorful 20' parachute with 12 handles. The Magic Rainbow can be used outdoors or in a gymnasium. There are a myriad of special games and sculptures that can be themed to work with any of our shows.  Some of our favorites are: Hobbit Home (pictured), Cat & Mouse, Popcorn, Over the Rainbow, Saint Ives Faire, Capture Gollum, and Munchkin Madness. Parachute games are creative fun for people of all ages and are easy to learn and play.  You will need from six to fifteen people for most games.  Kids take turns and watching is almost as much fun as playing.
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Magic Workshop
Following our performance we can conduct a workshop that teaches children how to perform some simple tricks (that we use in the show). We can guide you about acquiring the necessary materials or we can get them for you.

 Ideas for Children’s Birthday Parties

A. Tie a bouquet of balloons on your mail box, front porch, or apartment door so it is easy for your guests (not to mention the magician) to find the party. Have the birthday child select the balloon colors. After the party retrieve the balloons, break them, and put them in the trash. Balloons cause choking and could be fatal if swallowed (That's the reason we do not make balloon animals.).

B. Involve the entire family in your child’s party. Assign duties for each family member. Perhaps one parent can be in charge of taking pictures. Maybe one sibling can introduce the magician when it’s time for the entertainment. Another might hang up coats or prepare refreshments.

C. Prepare your child for the party. You might rehearse how you want your child to answer the door, greet the guests, and receive the presents. Discuss good manners and acceptable behavior for the party, and what areas are off limits (e.g. bedrooms). It is also important to give your other children a little extra love on the day of the party, remembering the limelight is on the birthday child.

D. Protect your pets. They should be placed in a safe area away from the children. Some children like to play rough and animals may bite if they feel threatened.

E. We permit still photography of the magic act at birthday parties. So, take lots of pictures of the party and the magic act. If you have an instant camera, you might consider taking pictures of each child with the magician and bunny as a party souvenir.

F. Consider having a large cardboard box handy to put presents in. The birthday child can decorate it with bright wrapping paper or simply color it. Purchase some labels and put each invited child’s name on two labels. When the child arrives, put one label on the present and the other on the card. That way, if the gift and card become separated, you may not need to be quite as creative with your thank you notes.

G. When we arrive, we like to meet the birthday child so we are ‘friends’ before the other children arrive. Then we need some private time to unload equipment and set up the magic secrets.

H. Children do not do well when they have to sit for a long time, especially if they have to sit on the floor. If possible, provide chairs or cushions for your guests during the performance. About midway through the show we will get all the children on their feet and moving about. If it is necessary for the children to sit on the floor or ground, please let us know and we can provide carpet samples for them to sit upon.

I. Children can become frightened by comments about the magician sawing you in half or making you disappear. When performing for small children, we avoid tricks that might frighten them. If a family member makes a comment about magic that could be intimidating, please reassure the birthday child. You should also know that, when we perform for small children, we avoid tricks that involve fire, balloons, and other dangerous objects.

J. When we are asked "what to serve and when?", we suggest light snacks such as small finger-sized hot dogs or pizza squares. Cutting the pizza in squares makes it easier (and less messy) for small children to handle. Apple juice is a parent’s favorite. Most party foods have sugar which tends to make children unruly and difficult to deal with. For this reason the food should come at the end of the party. Save the sugar ‘high’ for later – when they go home! Instead of buying a great big cake, you might consider buying a smaller cake, just big enough for the family. Use this cake to light the candles and to sing ‘Happy Birthday’, then serve individual cupcakes which can be handed out quickly and are less messy. Save the real cake for the family dinner hour, when the whole family can share the birthday cake. For older children consider a more authentic Renaissance experience using the recipes listed later in this guide.

K.  Let the birthday child select two friends to sit next to him/her when you serve the food. Have the birthday child sit down first, invite the two friends to join him/her, and then let all the other children find seats. Pre-assigned seating often results in tears for someone who wanted to sit with someone else. If the party is coed, the birthday child might be asked to pick one male and one female friend to sit on each side.

L.  As entertainers, it is our job to make everyone at your party feel good. The more information we have, the better we can be of service to you. It helps to know if your child is shy or has a special need. When we arrive at the party please take a moment to point out who’s who in your family.

M.   The only silly question is they one you don’t ask. Please call us with any questions or special requests. We will be happy to help you.
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Renaissance background information...
The people of medieval Europe worked long and hard, six or seven days a week; but this work was often interrupted by special celebrations that could last as long as a week or more, especially in the winter after the harvest was in. Christmas, January’s Twelfth Night, February’s Valentines Day, and June’s Midsummer were the four major celebrations. However, every month had at least one significant festival. By some accounts there were over one hundred annual festivals and feasts in addition to birthdays.

Several times a year, a person might attend a nearby fair with street vendors, entertainers, and games. Our Renaissance magic show is "set" in the fair at St. Ives, England. The fair was held semiannually for several weeks. People from all over the Ramsey Abbey’s lands traveled to attend the fair at St. Ives.

Perhaps one of the reasons you contracted our Renaissance Magic Show was to eliminate much of the planning and work associated with your event. If so, you made a good decision. Our magi-drama can create a festive Renaissance spirit with little or no effort on your part.

However, if you wish to enhance your event, here are some suggestions for decorating, games, and refreshments. Most of these ideas work for people of all ages; however, young children may have difficulty relating to Renaissance foods and activities. You will find a special section on Children’s Birthday Parties toward the end of this guide.
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Decorating
Decorating can be elaborate and expensive; but we suggest you keep it very simple.

If your event is out of doors, hang brightly colored flags and streamers. Consider constructing a Maypole and allowing your guests to wrap it with colored ribbons.

If your event is indoors, light candles for illumination and hang garlands of seasonal greens or flowers. Burn fragrant incense.

For a Twelfth Night celebration it would be appropriate to invite the guests to come in costumes (these should be appropriate to the period and could consist of simple masks). With festive costumes you may not need decorations.

For a St. Valentine’s Day Celebration, you can hang garlands and red paper heart-shaped cutouts.

Egg decorations are appropriate for Easter. Mistletoe, evergreens, and a Yule log can create a festive Christmas atmosphere.
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Games

Blind Man's Bluff

This game is the classic Renaissance party game and is well documented in medieval writings. It can be played anyplace large enough to hold a circle formed by the players. You should have at least eight players; but a large group makes the guessing part of the game more challenging.

Equipment: A blindfold

Object: For the "blind man" to guess the identity of another player

One player is blindfolded and stands in the center of a circle formed by the other players. Players in the circle join hands and move around the circle in one direction until the "blind man" gives the signal of three handclaps.

When the blind man claps, the circle stops moving and the blind man points at one of the other players. The blind man then gets one chance to guess the identity of the player he or she has pointed out. If the guess is correct, then the blind man and the player exchange places. If the blind man is wrong, the other player must go into the center of the circle.

While still blindfolded, the blind man attempts to tag the player in the center. Once tagged this player must remain still while the blind man tries to identify him or her by touching clothing, facial features, and hair. This player, once identified, is blindfolded for the next round, and the blind man joins the circle.

Variation: The chase sequence can be eliminated for a game that is less active but just as noisy. The players sing a song and circle around the blind man. When the song ends, the blind man points to one player and gives him or her a command involving some use of the voice: "Bark like a dog," "Cry like a baby," etc., The blind man then tries to identify the player. If he or she is successful, they change places. If not, the players begin singing and moving in the circle again.

Duck Duck Goose

Play this game on a flat lawn or other large smooth area You should have ten or more players.

Object: For the player who is tapped to catch "it" or else become "it."

One player is chosen to be "it." This player stands while others sit cross-legged in a wide circle.

"It" walks around the outside of the circle while tapping each seated player lightly on the head saying, "Duck" with each tap. He or she eventually taps one player and says, "Goose." This tapped player must quickly stand and try to catch the person who is "it" while this person runs around the circle, trying to reach the spot abandoned by the "Goose."

If "it" outruns the Goose and has taken Goose’s place in the circle before being tagged, Goose becomes the new "it." If tagged, "it" must start the process of tapping again.

Hot Potato

Play this game in a large area with six to fifteen players.

Equipment: A potato or other small object

Object: To catch and throw the "hot potato " as quickly as possible in order to avoid being caught holding it.

The players gather in a circle, seated on the ground. They all face the leader, who is seated in the center.

The leader begins by tossing the potato to one of the players. The leader then closes his or her eyes while the other players continue to pass the potato within the circle at random, keeping it in their possession for as short a time as possible, as if the potato was steaming hot right out of the fire.

After a short period, the leader calls out "Hot!" The player caught holding the potato is eliminated, and the leader begins the toss again.

The game continues until all but one of the players have been eliminated. The remaining player is declared the winner.

Bowling

bowling was a very popular game for people of all ages. Play this game on a flat lawn or inside in a long room You should have four to ten players.

Equipment: Three to ten pins. Fewer pins for younger children.

Object: Knock down all the pins by rolling the balls into them.

Simply play the classic game except simplify the scoring by giving points for pins knocked down. (Forget about strikes and spares.) Player gets two balls to roll.

Tag the Pole

This is a hide and seek game where the persopn who is "it" stands next to a pole, covers his eyes, and counts to 100, while the rest of the children all hide. Then, the person who counted (who has incidentally been guarding "the pole ") has to run around and find everybody. A tagged player has to go to jail, a small area near the pole. But if another player tags the pole before being tagged himself then all those in jail are released to hide again. If there are many children playing it may be difficult for the counter to catch them all before someone releases the prisoners, so it is a good idea to have a time limit or a maximum of nuimber of pole tags before a new counter is chosen.

The modern version of this game uses a can that is kicked instead of tagging a pole.

More Games

Here are some links to more games, many of which date back hundred's of years. You can modify them to make them more "authentic" or just use them as is.

http://family-reunion.com/games.htm
http://www.ehow.com/articles_2422-kids-games.html
http://www.gameskidsplay.net

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Menu Suggestions and Recipes

Note that these menu suggestions are for an adventuresome adult palate. There are divided into sections for commoners and manor folk. Recipes or ideas follow for items marked with an *.

The Commoner’s Festival Table

Pottage * (the staple!)
Summer sausage or bacon
Roasted chicken
Cold bread or rolls *
Cheese including cottage cheese (curds and whey)
Hot fruit (for health reasons fruit was rarely served uncooked)
Light Ale (non-alcoholic beer)
Beer, Cider, Milk
Shortbread cookies

Manor Folks’ Festival Table

Roast pork (beef can be offered, but it was not often served)
Roasted chicken a, turkey, goose, or game foul
Payn Pur-Dew *
Cheese, Hot Brie
Hot roasted walnuts or pecans
Hot vegetables in cream sauce
Hot fruit (for health reasons fruit was rarely served uncooked)
Light Ale (non-alcoholic beer)
Beer, Wine, Cider, Milk
Cakes and cookies
Note: sweeten anything with honey. Serve each dish with ceremony as a separate course

Pottage

This was the staple on the commoner’s table. It tended to cook for hours and carry forth from meal to meal. Only on festival days was meat available for pottage. Serves 12.

1/2   pound   dried beans

1/2 pound of dried peas

1 can chicken stock

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup cooked chicken, pork, or bacon, chopped into pieces (optional)

1. Soak the dried beans and peas in 6-8 cups of water overnight. Drain and rinse.

2. Cook the beans, onion, salt, pepper and chicken stock over medium heat until hot and tender.

3. Stir in the honey and optional meat and cook over medium heat until meat is also hot.

4.  Serve in bowls

Cold Bread or Rolls

At the bakery or supermarket select a long loaf or large plain rolls. White or whole wheat are appropriate.

Payn Pur-Dew

The name means lost bread or god’s bread. It may remind you of French toast; but serve it with any meal. Serves 12.

7 fresh eggs, separated
4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
12 slices whole wheat, rye or pumpernickel bread cut into 4 squares or 4 triangles each
Small pitcher of honey
1/4 pound butter for sautéing in a heavy frying pan or skillet

1. Slowly heat the butter in the heavy frying pan or skillet, being careful not to let it burn.

2. With a fork or rotary beater, beat the egg yolks with the cream or milk. Add the egg whites. Beat again.

3. Stir in the salt, cinnamon, and cumin.

4. Dip the bread pieces in the spiced egg until they are completely coated and remove them with a spatula.

5. Sauté the bread on both sides in the melted butter until golden brown.

6. Remove them to a rack or serving platter. Serve warm with honey.

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For more information or to book a magic show  please contact:
Jim Lang
24 Primrose Drive - Trumbull, CT 06611-5043
Voice: 203-377-1747

Jim@wizardjim.com