I have always been slightly repelled by ‘Living and Dead Tests’. I’ve got nothing against the concept just the plot. So I came up with this.
You hand out bits of paper to four members of the audience and ask them to each write the name of a ‘good’ person, past or present. You ask a fifth person to write the name of a tyrant on a fifth piece of paper.
The papers are folded into four and dropped into a dish. At no time is the performer able to see the names written on the billet. The billets are removed at random from the dish and touched with a lighted incense stick. As each paper is touched and nothing happens it is placed on one side. One of the papers disappears in a flash!
The remaining papers are opened and the names read out – they are all ‘nice’ people – Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, etc. The billet that was consigned to hell’s fire must have been the ‘nasty’ one. But not only that – the performer names the tyrant!
I am particularly pleased with coming up with this idea. There is something about it that appeals to my type of humour. In order not to touch the pieces and paper and stop the chance of burning myself I use a pair of tongs. The beauty of this is that although the tongs stop you from ‘secretly’ glimpsing the names in the eyes of your audience they actually do just that.
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