There is an old trick I used to do in my
Clown days you dont think I was always a Wizard, do
you? This was the trick where the clown fills a bucket with water
and then dashes it into the audience. They all duck, and then
discover that the water has turned to confetti.
I thought the joke might work just as well
for a Wizard and liven up some Halloween shows. Instead of a
pail, I used my wooden mortar (Dollar Store!) and a piece of
white milky quartz rock that I found in a gravel bed (free!).
I usually begin by teaching a potions
class, as if my audience were students at Wizards
School. I explain what a mortar and pestle are and sometimes
relate the legendary story of the Russian witch Baba Yaga and her
use of the mortar and pestle to fly around the forest.
Then I go rummaging through the drawers of
my potion cabinet and bring out the milky quartz rock. I pass it
around so the class can learn what it looks like.
This gets over the examination bit that so many
magicians frown upon.
I ask them to hold the rock up to the light
and observe that it is translucent and so on. Finally, I collect
it by having someone drop it into the mortar. I arrange for them
to drop it from a height so it will make a good solid clunking
noise when it hits the mortar. I sometimes rattle it around in
the mortar so they can hear that it is good and solid.
Now I bring out the measuring cup (made
from Dollar Store materials and explained in the article) , which
I claim contains Milk of Magnesia. As I pour the
milky fluid into the mortar, I explain that I am making a potion
that will turn a human being into a duck.
I pick up the pestle and grind the milk and
the rock together.
Lets test it, I say, and
using the pestle as an aspergillum, I sprinkle liquid on the
first row of the audience. Did I get you wet? Does anybody
feel like quacking?
If you have an audience with some kids in
it, you may get a few of them to quack for you.
I dont see any feather
appearing yet. Maybe I need to use some more potion to turn you
into ducks. Ready? One, Two, Three, DUCK!
At that I send the confetti contents of the
mortar flying into the audience and begin counting
ducks as I see them flinch.
Of course, after that bit of silliness, you
will never convince the audience that any of your potions
actually work, so this should be the last effect where you use a