Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about what my backup plan is.

Sure we all can go to the Walmart and put together a show, and I hear performers say that’s their back up plan all time. That’s all good, but whatever is in your “Walmart Show” is material you really need to practice. It should be your “B” show, meaning you do it every now and then. You have jokes and bits, not just do tricks.

This made me think of what I can carry onto a plane, that’s will play big. I’m putting together a list of things so I’m prepared for when this does happen. I also want to do it on my terms, meaning, I have a plan and I’m not scrounging.

The easy starting point is to figure out what card tricks would play big on stage.

2: Card to Pocket
3: Card Memorization

These are tricks that have already been in my stage show in the past, so I have good routines for them. These also are very different in texture, they don’t feel like the same trick. Those three tricks are about 12-15 mins. Right away I’m 1/3 of the way to a 45 mins show.

Now to build upon the card tricks to fill in the show. I could add some mentalism:

1: Blindfold drawing duplication
2: Impromptu Book Test
3: Cue Card Confabulation

These three tricks also have different textures and will bring the show to about 30 mins. I can make the the cue cards with the pad of paper from the drawing duplication and I will have the coins from the blindfold, I can use them for a coin trick:

1: Coin Under Watch

I’m going to have to be careful to space out coin under watch and card to pocket as they are both “transportation” tricks. This is not a big deal, I just need to be aware of it. This is going to bring the show to about 33 mins.

There will be room for some small gimmicks, so I can add these tricks:

1: Thumb Tip with mismade bill
2: Dye Tube

Now that I’ve added these two tricks, that puts my show length at about 39 mins. That’s almost a show. Let’s add a couple of small props to the carry on bag:

1: Rubik’s Cube trick
2: Torn and Restored Newspaper

That’s going to bring the whole show to 45 mins.

This show’s carry on list would be:
1: Jumbo deck of cards
2: Regular deck of cards
3: 2 pads of paper
4: Roll of duct tape
5: 2 Coins
6: Book
7: Thumb Tip
8: Mismade bill
9: Dye Tube
10: 2 handkerchiefs
11: Newspaper
12: 2 Rubik’s Cubes

The pack list isn’t very long, and all the props when put together don’t take up much space, and would play well on a stage. All of these are things that have been in my show in the past, so I know the material and have routines for them.

Is this my dream show to do? Nope, but it’ll work in a pinch, and I think it’s a better option than buying some junk at the hardware store and trying to figure out what to do with it!