Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Derren Brown's Evening of Wonders -- Answers and Speculations

I am enjoying the on-line speculation about how Derren performed his Evening of Wonders tricks.

A blog called "Kim Thomas" has an interesting explanation of the black envelope trick: "An accomplice comes on at half-time posing as a member of the audience, and instead of putting an envelope into the bowl, takes a handful out and gives them to Brown backstage."

That is along the lines of our "hot reading" discussion in the comments to my last entry.

Kim Thomas then pokes fun at the Observer's attempts to explain Derren Brown's show. I do not claim to know the secrets to Derren's tricks, but it is pretty clear to me that the Observer's explanations are wrong.

Another blog (at mtdsalestraining.com) speculates about whether Derren could use his skills to succeed as a salesman. It reminds me of my discussion of Derren Brown as a lawyer.

The joy of Derren Brown performances is trying to guess how he does it. And in Evening of Wonders, he left us plenty of room to speculate.


iamsekhmet said...

It's an interesting theory that people take out the envelopes and give them to Derren but wouldn't someone notice this? I attended Evening of Wonders last year in Leicester. I was in the 2nd row and didn't leave my seat during the interval. I didn't notice anyone taking a handful of envelopes OUT of the bowl but then again, I wasn't watching it too closely but surely someone would?

One thing I do know. The part where Derren picks up an envelope and says the person did it for a joke and then throws it in the audience, where the audience member opens it to reveal to word "cock" - that DOES happen every show, it happened when I was there and a few other shows my friends went to so obviously, one of his people do put that envelope in there during the interval, so why not slyly take a few while there.


William_Tapscott said...

iamsekhmet -

That's great information - thanks.

Regarding whether someone would see Derren's assistant remove the envelopes -- Sometimes the most obvious tricks are the easiest to get away with.

And magicians have techniques for swapping envelopes. I think this could really happen.

Rich said...

As I said in the other post, that works for the tricks where he's simply getting & answering a question, but he appears to know extra things about the audience members that weren't in the envelope, and he also appears to know things about random audience members who didn't write questions down......

J said...

re: the black envelope trick.

We've seen on countless occasions how DB is able to read physical cues of another person. he is clearly able to see certain flexing patterns from Accessing cues, which is a basic NLP technique, and take a very educated stab at what that person is thinking.

Consider this...

1. the first half of the trick is performed with Derren able to see and hear most of the audience.

2. he has demonstrated many times his ability to memorise the smallest details with minimal exposure to the source.

3. whilst in the first half of the trick he is able to sort of multi task, reading the person who wrote the card in his hand whilst reading other members of the audience and storing that information for later.

4. DONT THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT! meaning before the main body of the trick DB saying something along the lines of when we are all THINKING of our QUESTIONS would start the audience to ever so breifly think of their individual questions, allowing DB a window in which to surmise several educated guessess and storing that information for later.

put all these together and you have...

5. the final prestige. derren is able (having done his homework during the first set of readings) to seemlessly shoot off facts and truths about people he hasnt met or had anything to do with.

this may all seem a little naiive (being that lesser magicians may use stooges and i shudder at the thought of derren following suit) but i have been following DB for quite some time and if you think it through...this is the most likely.