I’m still a little bleary-eyed this morning as I recount last night’s bizarre "Cheap Tricks" competition I was part of as I didn’t get back from Toronto until 2am. However, it was certainly worth the drive.
Here’s the basic concept. Up until 2 hours before show time, you have no idea what you’re going to perform. Eight contestants, draw three envelopes each. One of those envelopes contains your shopping budget (anywhere from 5 to 25 dollars). The second reveals where you have to spend that budget. The third envelope contained a “handicap” of sorts. For one it was having to perform entirely without saying a word. Another had to do their show as an angry magician, another; as a kiddie performer, etc.
Things were looking pretty good for me. I drew a $20 budget and I ended up with a free choice of wherever I wanted to shop. However, whatever I performed had to include Heinz ketchup in the act. Yes…ketchup.
How in the world, does a mentalist involve ketchup in his performance? I’ll tell you in just a moment. But first I have to share how I went about getting the ketchup (one of my favorite moments from last night). I simply went into the Tim Hortons next door to the venue and, knowing that it was unlikely that they would hand out anything for free without making an order, I asked for a small coffee. When they asked what I wanted in it, I simply said “ketchup…but I’ll take it on the side”. The look on the server’s face was priceless. Anyway, from there I hoofed it off to a Dollarama, about 15 minutes away, got the rest of my materials and headed back to the venue to prepare my routine.
For my set, I brought 5 volunteers onto the stage and explained that they were going to take part in the “Rorshach Ketchup Test”. It’s not as well know as the Rorshach Ink Blot Test, but it’s still very psychologically revealing. I had each volunteer paint a picture with their ketchup, insert it into a large envelope, which in turn were shuffled so I had no idea which volunteer had done which piece. I then proceeded to open the envelopes in random order, did a quick psychological analysis of the person based on their ketchup painting and then identified which person painted it.
In the end, I did not win the coveted “Cheap Tricks” trophy, but it didn’t matter. I had so much fun performing, watching others perform and, of course, just the camaraderie of hanging out with like-minded mentalism and magic geeks. A big shout out goes to Chris “Mysterion The Mindreader” for organizing this event. He and his performing partner Steffi K did an amazing job themselves as hosts as well as providing their own moments of mind-blowing mind-reading fun!
Tonight it's back to the real world as a corporate entertainer, but who knows, maybe tonight's show will include a little ketchup!