From the introduction:
In ‘Step Three – Mental Systems’ of the seminal work Thirteen Steps To Mentalism written by the legendary Corinda, he clearly states the value he placed upon memory systems:
To the mentalist, Memory Systems are indispensable; they are part of his equipment and the means whereby he can be called upon to perform at any time – and give an impressive demonstration. They are the best type of equipment you can have, as there is nothing to carry and no apparatus to prepare. The skill lies in the training of the mind, in conditioning the mind to operate to maximum advantage, and once trained, that skill remains with you for life, ever ready to be applied.
Later in the same chapter of the book Cordina expands this ethos to ‘The Amazing Memory Test’ that is detailed in his lesson:
This is probably the most popular application of the memory system in use today. It has every qualification you could hope for as a mentalist; no props to carry, do it anywhere, on stage, cabaret, the drawing room office or walking down the high road. It can be performed before any size audience – one or two – or thousands; it is positively sure to work, is easy to learn and last, and most important of all, it has a terrific effect on the audience. What more could you want?
Corinda mentions that at the time of his writing ‘The Amazing Memory Test’ was the ‘most popular’ application of the mental system laid fourth. In the years past since his writing I think it would be fair to say that this routine has fallen out of popular performance. I feel this may be due to the following reasons:
- The routine is often long and slow – modern audiences simply do not possess the same attention span that was afforded to Corinda at the time of his writing
- Many performers feel the routine is driven by the performers ego – and thus can potentially appear as a routine that is more about the performer ‘showing off’ than entertaining his audience.
- Mentalism literature is rather sparse lacking additions and advice on the routine – unlike many of the effects and plots detailed within ‘13 Steps To Mentalism’ the ‘Amazing Memory Test’ has seen little published variations or performance advice, since its publication in the book. While the routine does date back much further than the book I would suggest that Corinda was responsible in introducing the routine to many mentalists.
While the above are worthy of consideration they are points and problems that are both easy to solve with presentational hooks and strong understanding of the routine. With no props to carry, a strong and entertaining theme and its ease in operation I would like to challenge you with the same question originally posed by Corinda – what more could you want?
1st edition 2008; 18 pages.
word count: 6530 which is equivalent to 26 standard pages of text