Naypes - Roberto Mansilla
Naypes was originally published in 2011 in Spanish; and now thanks to And Gladwin and Joshua Jay at Vanishing Inc, English readers can now dive into Mansilla’s body of work.
This book is focused on parlor card magic, and the book begins by exploring what parlor card magic is, where it came from, how it has evolved, and how to get the most out of performing card magic in a parlor setting. This is a helpful essay to help you better understand what perspective Mansilla is coming from as you read the rest of the book, as ALL of the routines taught are designed specifically for a parlor setting.
Eureka! - The first routine is an ACAAN effect. It is very clean and very easy to do. This is a great example of how Mansilla is using the parlor setting to his advantage by staging the ACAAN in such a way to make the only move totally invisible. If you struggle with some of the complex mathematics behind some of the famous ACAANs out there, this is a wonderful replacement.
Outstanding - Out of This World brought to the parlor. This staging lifts the cards off of the table and creates a strong visual picture which could be seen from the back of the room with ease. This staging just so happens to allow for some sneaky action which is totally justified thanks to the stage picture that is created. It is exceptionally clean, and again, thanks to the parlor setting, you are able to easily and conveniently do the dirty work in a way that couldn’t really be replicated up close.
Card in the Envelope - After failing to find a signed card, the spectator “keeps one of your memories” in the form of a letter which is sealed with wax. When the spectator removes the contents from the envelope, it is her signed card. What Mansilla has added here is a lovely presentation framed around Roberto Giobbi’s version of LePauls card to sealed envelope from Card College Volume 5. The storyline creates intrigue and the idea of wagering your memories is a nice hook for the routine.
Two and A Half - In this version of cards across, two and a half card travel. Really! This adds a visual and unexpected element to the traditional cards across plot. Methodologically, it is very simply to do, but I imagine the impact would be great.
Following Two and A Half, there’s a discussion on the history and concept of the “General Card” principle. What follows are three effects utilizing this principle.
Everybody’s Card IV - A joker transforms into three selected cards one at a time. This uses the General Card principle wonderfully. In fact, that principle is virtually the entire method! This is one of the more sleight-heavy routines in the book, but the sleights take place before long before the audience is aware of the effect. This allows the actual changes of the joker to be 100% sleight free.
Thanks to Diaconis - Three cards are set aside. Three spectators each select a card and remember it. The cards set aside previously are shown, and they are not the spectator’s cards. Yet, one at a time, the three cards change into the spectator’s cards (and all while the deck is completely out of play.) This is genius, in fact, it wins the WTP Award* This routine is simple to do, but psychologically it is very complex. After reading the presentation I tried to work out how it could be possible, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. When I read the method, I was very impressed and amused because the strong psychology of the routine worked its magic even as I read the presentation. This also uses the General Card principle, but in a TOTALLY different way. In most general card routines, there is a chance a small aspect of it could unravel if spectator’s talk afterward. This routine does not have that issue in the slightest. It is great, and I will be using it when the time is right.
What Does Oblivion Look Like? - Four blank cards are shown, placed in a glass, and covered with a handkerchief. A deck is introduced, four cards are removed and shown to four different audience members—each remembering the card they’ve seen. Now without ever going back to the deck, the four cards turn blank in the performer’s hands. The handkerchief is removed from the glass, and instead of four blank cards, there are now the four selected cards in the glass. This is the final routine in the book which uses the general card principle. What is fascinating about this approach is that it isn’t truly necessary, you COULD eliminate the general card principle and do the same routine in a more traditional fashion, but it would require having the deck in play. By using the general card principle, Mansilla is able to get rid of the deck very early on in the routine and just use the bare amount of cards possible. This leads to a very disarming and clean vanish of those four cards (by them turning blank.) I am a big fan of this routine; there are a lot of strong moments in it purely because of the cleanliness you gain thanks to the general card principle.
Karl Germain and the Wineglass Principle - Here Mansilla explores and digs up the history of using a wineglass to facilitate a card change. This is quickly followed by a write up of his original effect, and Mansilla’s take on it.
Appearing Cards - Two cards are selected and shuffled in a deck. The deck goes in a wineglass with the faces out and gets covered with a handkerchief. The first selection is named, and when the handkerchief is removed, the first card on the deck has transformed into the named card. It is moved to the back of the deck, the glass is again covered, the second card named, and again on removal of the handkerchief, the named card is on the face of the deck. This is Germain’s method for this now classic effect. After explaining the workings, Mansilla discusses what he would change about it, and some well known variations of the plot.
Hi Germain - This is Mansilla’s take on the previous effect. What he adds is the use of a joker to cause the cards to appear. Rather than the face card changing into the selection, the selections appear in front of the joker. This is a much better take IMO because it creates a much larger logical disconnect than the original.
Sunrise - This is Mansilla’s take on the tossed out deck effect, eliminating the traditional DR and eliminating the use of the entire deck. Three people get a small packet of cards and think of one. You reveal what cards the first two are thinking of, and you tell the last spectator every card in their hand leaving their thought of card as the final one. In my opinion, this is the weakest effect in the book. I am not a fan of this one. The spectators have such a small set to choose from to begin with, and then, you have to tell them an odd statement to have them think of a card of a certain suit within their hand. Ultimately, I appreciate what Mansilla was attempting in this, but I feel it falls short of his goal.
The book ends with an interview of Mansilla by Helier Guimaraes.
If you have ever wanted to perform card magic in a parlor setting, I think this is a book you should read. You'll get some wonderful routines, but more importantly, you'll learn how to structure your own routines in a way that utilizes the parlor setting to maximum effect.
*The Worth The Price Award, or WTP Award for short, is a new system I will have in place when reviewing products. Look out for the WTP Award(s) to know which routine(s) or principle(s) is my favorite.