The Shakespeare Experiment by Todd Karr(c. 2008) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)
An elaborate and exquisite book with vellum paper, gilt edges, leather binding, and ribbon marker, purporting to be the Complete Works of Shakespeare, but elaborately edited and gaffed for numerous reveals. Each page has been edited to sound and feel like Shakespearean language, but has specific words at specific locations.
Each two-page spread has different words, but the words are tied to the page number, so all pages ending in 3, for example, have the same words to reveal. Furthermore, on all ten pages, the words in each location are similar-not quite synonyms, but close in meaning. Thus, no matter where the participant opens the book, you know the last word on the right-hand page, for example, is an animal. Fish for the type of animal and you will know the page number digit which will cue you to the rest of the words in other places.
In addition, there is repeating imagery in the sonnet section which can be revealed and some other conditions. A hefty and elegant tome, to be sure, probably not one you would hand out in a crowded bar, but maybe just right for an elegant fundraiser banquet.
Effect: “The Shakespeare Experiment is a beautifully crafted product. But to me, the real beauty lies in the addition of the gimmicked graphic elements, which open a whole new avenue to book-test mentalism.” — Levent
Designed by Todd Karr
- Diabolically gimmicked but looks totally normal
- No forces, no fishing, no guiding to “the longest word,” no spelling-bee anagrams
- No gimmicks, breaks, or glimpses
- No additional props needed
- No guessing or asking the first letter of the word
- You don’t ever have to touch the book!
- Instantly repeatable
- Different plays, pages, and text throughout the book
- Easy to perform!
- Powerful effects incorporated into not only the plays but also the Sonnets, glossary, and illustrations
- Instant reading of several words or a complete passage anywhere the book is opened
- Built-in words for comedy, romantic, or dramatic presentations
- Actual Shakespearean text from classics like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet
- Several methods incorporated so they can be combined for deceptive routining
- Bonus secret Elizabethan Dirty Words feature
- Final pages include The Trick Glossary, a gimmicked Shakespearean lexicon
The Shakespeare Experiment is possibly the most elegant book test ever created, and so cleverly gimmicked, they’ll think the Bard’s ghost is helping you!
Anywhere the spectator opens the book, you immediately divine several different words from various locations the volunteer chooses, and you can even recite a complete Shakespearean passage!
The volunteer can then pass the book around and you can instantly give readings for different words on pages other spectators turn to!
The Shakespeare Experiment combines several distinctly clever methods, so the spectators won’t be able to follow your technique. And yes, the text is different from page to page.
Designed for the professional entertainer, this amazing book lets you completely customize your presentation with specific words for comedy, romantic, or dramatic styles. The plays, Sonnets, glossary, and even the illustrations have all been gimmicked to allow you to perform several distinct effects.
And if you’re daring enough for the right audience, you’ll love the secret Elizabethan Dirty Words feature.
It’s easy to learn and perform, with none of the usual obvious methods: no forces, fishing, anagrams, gimmicks, or guiding to the longest word on a page or line.
The book is elegantly bound in leather with gold-foil stamping and golden gilt-edged pages, and comes to you complete with The Shakespeare Experiment instruction manual and optional performance accessories.
Critics’ Reviews of The Shakespeare Experiment
“A book test with The Complete Works of Shakespeare, you say? Verily. Instead of being Much Ado About Nothing, here is an approach which demands the performer use a book — and what a book it is. It seems carefully prepared so as not to be the Comedy of Errors that so many recent book tests have turned out to be. Measure for Measure, this is one of the cleverest and most useful tests of late. They say that “All’s Well That Ends Well,” and if that is true, the routine for which the book was designed is all well indeed. If you are looking for a beautiful object, a powerful effect and a “novel” method, you will find this very special book to be As You Like It.” — Michael Weber
“William Shakespeare wrote, ‘I am not bound to please thee with my answers.’ But this book is — literally!” — Max Maven
“This is the stuff that dreams are made of! The Miracle Factory raises the bar and the Bard. A great idea that will make you look very, very smart.” — Jeff McBride
“It’s the motherf***** of all book tests!” — Lee Asher
Gaffing up the works of Shakespeare was a great idea, and the physical execution here is lovely. This book is gaffed in several different ways, allowing for different tests to be performed with different parts of the book…the performer can reveal emotions, words, even entire passages without ever asking for a page number to be selected or announced. This elegant volume, with its gilt edges, black cover, and ribbon marker, looks every inch as it should.
— David Regal, Genii
The latest from The Miracle Factory is a beautiful book test…and much more. This is a real book. Its very nature — it looks like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare — connotes intelligence and class. The binding and printing are of high quality…The Shakespeare Experiment will be a sought-after item in years to come.
Essentially, the book is prepared in ways that allow you to read minds….It is an opportunity to create the illusion of real, one-of-a-kind miracles. If you are a performer or hobbyist committed to mastering a tool, it is also a must-buy. Whether this is something you present for one person or 1000, you will see a return on your investment.
If you are looking to build the image of being able to read minds, The Shakespeare Experiment may very well be the tool to realize that vision.
— Brad Henderson, Magic magazine
Todd Karr has expended a tremendous amount of thought and effort in making this book test appear to be a real test — either of your paranormal ability to see through the spectator’s eyes or to prove you have memorised a huge volume. The books looks legitimate and the variety of readings and effects you can perform with it make it one of the most versatile accessories for the working mentalist ever available.
— Matthew Field, editor, The Magic Circular
This is a handsome collector’s edition of Shakespeare that no one will suspect could ever be a cleverly gimmicked-to-the-hilt book, but it is. I was quite impressed with the amount of details and the versatility that the book offers…. As pointed out in the blurb, selecting words from the Shakespearean plays is only part of what can be done. Words can be selected from the sonnets and the glossary at the back of the book. Even the pictures can be selected for revelations…. If you’re looking for a fine book test and you feel that a book containing the works of Shakespeare can fit into your act, then I do recommend this handsome, extremely well-made product.
— Jheff, Marketplace of the Mind
Todd Karr has a reputation for making top quality and beautifully produced props and The Shakespeare Experiment is no exception: a volume of The Complete Works of Shakespeare is beautifully bound in black leather with gold foil-stamped letters and gilt-edged pages. The book itself is something that would fit right in on a bookshelf of classics in anyone’s library.
It really looks legitimate. If you turn to any page, it will look perfectly legit….on any two facing pages, you can divine eight words and a passage. There are about forty Gustave Doré engravings mixed in among the Sonnets, of which you can divine certain specifics. The Sonnets are also gimmicked so as to divine a word. The end of the volume has a glossary which is, of course, gimmicked.
Will I use it? Yes, I will and I recommend The Shakespeare Experiment most highly…. I really like it.
— Tony Razzano, past president, P.E.A.
Customer Compliments for The Shakespeare Experiment
I’ve just acquired The Shakespeare Experiment. This is the finest piece of magic production I’ve ever seen. Conceptually stunning, beautifully produced. Congrats.
— Ben Harris
I used The Shakespeare Experiment at Magic Chicago last night and the reaction was amazing. It’s the only mentalism I do and worth being the focus of a show.
— Taylor Martin
The thoughtful design and attention to detail is remarkable, and so elegantly diabolical. The clever “open to any page” feature, along with the depth and variety of keywords allow for great interplay within these great plays. All in all, a masterful handling with an iconic literary work familiar to all.
— Patrick Martin
I perform exclusively for corporate and academic clients and have developed a matter-of-fact style based on science, psychology and language that generally eschews fancy props. The Shakespeare Experiment gives me a logical way of injecting lush, rich, elegant language and a gorgeous prop into my act without compromising that style.
— Stuart Nolan
The Shakespeare Experiment is infinitely more than a forcing book! If a forcing book, even the best ones, could be thought of as a musical jingle, The Shakespeare Experiment is a magnificent symphony concert or fabulous Broadway musical. And it is the ultimate collectible piece of mentalism apparatus.
— William H. McIlhany
First of all, the book itself is as completely above suspicion as an L.A. telephone directory or Webster’s dictionary. I have been using it alongside Norton anthologies of literature as well as a nice leather bound dictionary of quotations — and the book fits in perfectly. College teachers and students who have handled the book as they took part in The Shakespeare Experiment have flipped through the pages, looking at the glossary, table of contents, and cover pages… Even my wife, who knows I own magic props, thought the book was real — in part because of the physical construction and in part because of the psychological reality of using such classic literature.
Perhaps more importantly, The Shakespeare Experiment works in the real world. I have used the effect in my living room, in the classroom, and even in a larger lecture hall. It works great in all these venues. I have also used it with non-native speakers who had no problems following instructions and understanding the effect.
The novel method of The Shakespeare Experiment is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the effect. This new methodology is extremely hidden and subtle while being very direct, clean, and fail-safe.
I use the basic routine because it has a variety of effects, and builds to a natural applause cue without any additional theatrics. I highly recommend The Shakespeare Experiment…the smoothest, cleanest, longest, and most astonishing effect with a one-book book test that I have ever seen.
— Alan Wheeler, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao, China
The Shakespeare Experiment will be of tremendous value to anyone looking to incorporate the works of perhaps the finest storyteller in history with one of the best mental effects of our time. It provides a clever and simple system for divining not just one, but several words on each page or various words from different pages. In the spirit of the Bard, it also gives artistic license to the performer to reveal comedic, dramatic or romantic words. It is a must for anyone serious about performing a top-notch book test.
— Rob Zabrecky
After 25 years of headlining comedy clubs, I have burned through a lot of material and have a wide repertoire as an arsenal. My favorite magic presentations are routines that I can improvise in and yet depend on a proven payoff.
When I opened the wrapper to The Shakespeare Experiment, I felt like I was holding Charlie Parker’s saxophone in my hands, the “Ultimate Jazz Instrument.” I know that every time I perform this, I will be able to jazz out and improvise in the presentation, keeping it fresh and exciting not only for the audience, but also for myself as an artist. “Willie the Shake” and I are going to “Blow, Daddy, Blow!”
Masses of congratulations for The Shakespeare Experiment. I am, without exaggeration, a world-known, oft-published expert in Shakespeare, and your work demonstrates a genuine knowledge of and love for the texts. Well done…extremely well done. Beautiful presentation. I am putting it on my office lectern beside beside Dobson and Wells’ Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, ready to spring on my students as they come by for consultations. It looks very well there – and very genuine amongst my other Complete Works editions, concordances, facsimiles, etc. Actually, it looks so very much better than the standard college textbooks that it only makes sense to leave it out in full view. The workings, too, are devilish and delightful. Brilliantly done. Many thanks.
— Dr. Brian Jay Corrigan
As a full-time working professional magician with a rather sophisticated client base, I have been looking forever for a book test that would suit the atmosphere of my act. Most importantly, I have searched for a book test that has a wide range of presentational options that made logical sense in its presentation applications.
Rarely does something appear in the world of magic that has it all. Todd Karr’s latest creation, The Shakespeare Experiment, does indeed…and more. Not only does his new book test have a wide variety of presentation uses, it also has a look and feel that is unparalleled on the market today. From the detail of the cover to the gold-leafed pages, it could easily look at home in the libraries of any wealthy estate in the world. I cannot overemphasize the caliber of the finished product.
I had the pleasure of being one of the first people to receive a personal presentation of this work of art. I was wholly surprised when I was told to simply to open it to any page with no prompting. The rest of the effect had me in its grip completely. This is elegant, classic magic at its best.
If you have been looking for something special for your act that won’t stay on your bookshelf, buy The Shakespeare Experiment. Or better yet, don’t buy it…I would rather be the only one who uses it in all of my shows!
— Peter Morrison
The system is well thought out, comprehensive, and thorough in description. The methods are very clean and quite diabolical as well. There are many “pluses” in handling, and few if any of the “minuses” of most other book tests. The performer does not need to handle the book or ask pesky questions…
— Walt Anthony
Wow! You have outdone yourself! I can tell, like your other creations, this is a labour of love. I examined the book for thirty minutes to see if I could decipher some of the secrets…this book can withstand a fair amount of scrutiny without fear of exposure. The CD is very clear in the instructions, and I enjoyed those extra hints and tips from other performers that will elevate this to an extraordinary level. The best part is the learning curve is short so I can concentrate all on the presentation. This is a very seamless prop: no stumbling or the shortcomings of some other book tests. When you first offered this to the magic community, I already had the perfect venue for this wonderful prop. I perform a lot of charity fundraising events, black tie, wine and cheese events, etc. This is a very elegant and classy looking book! It does not disappoint from a visual standpoint and looks like an expensive Complete Works of Shakespeare that you would be proud to hand down…heirloom quality, from the leather grain-look binding to the gold gilding and ribbon bookmark..it exudes quality and luxury. My mind is buzzing with all the wonderful possibilities!
— Rajinder Sangha
My expectations for The Shakespeare Experiment were sky-high. Now that I actually have it in my hands, I’m utterly delighted. The sumptuousness of the production values, and the spectrum of devious built-in gaffs, make this book a sort of dream for me. It’s sophisticated on many levels: in its subject matter, in its appearance, and in its trickery. It’s gorgeous, it’s above suspicion, it’s a joy to use, and it’s truly heirloom-quality. I was torn between using it and putting it in a museum case…so I ordered a second one.
— Josh Mandel
As far as the book is concerned, I must say that you created a masterpiece. Excellent!
— Davide Costi
It’s fantastic. Looks great, feels great, and I’m so pleased that you’ve built in a wide variety of revelations. I have a few book tests and most of them suffer from a single method and type of revelation, precluding you from really doing an extended routine with them. With The Shakespeare Experiment, you’re not limited to the common “What page did you turn to? Now look at the first word at the top of the page” scenario. You can direct the spectator to different areas of a freely selected page, and divine a thought of word — without knowing the page number. In addition, you can reveal details of images in the book — not just words. The book has several different sections — the plays, the sonnets, a glossary — which all have their own miracles hidden in them. The great thing about the book is that there’s no single method and you can develop a complete (and interesting) multi-phase routine that doesn’t feel repetitive. Since you can direct a spectator to different areas of the book and have them look at and concentrate on different parts of a page, your revelations will seem really astounding.
As others have said, the book itself looks fantastic. It really looks like a bound leather edition of Shakespeare (as it should). The quality is great and the massive number of pages makes it all the more deceptive.
— Dave McFarland
The book itself is a gem; it looks like an heirloom from my grandparents and is very convincing. It looks and feels upper class. I own more than ten book tests, but this one has a total different and diabolically clever combination of methods.
— Erik Groesche
Shakespeare has landed and is everything you promised. It is a lovely production and the method thoroughly and solidly constructed.
— Stephen Minch
You have done a marvelous job. The quality of the book is outstanding. Thanks and congratulations on this marvelous effect.
— Benedikt Grindel
Thank you for the enormous work you have put into this and the magnificent object you have allowed me to own. Your book will go down in history!
— Nikola Pelletier
What a thing of beauty! Congratulations. I’m very glad I obtained a copy. You certainly have gone “all out” with the look, feel, and effects.
— Richard Paddon
Just received my copy of The Shakespeare Experiment by Todd Karr, creator of the 2006 Da Vinci Zone book test. The 816-page volume, bound in black leather with the title The Complete Works of William Shakespeare embossed in gold on the front cover and spine, gilt-edged pages, tipped-in color portrait of the Bard, and over 40 pages of Gustave Doré engravings, is the most beautifully produced of the hundreds of book tests I’ve seen. The text is authentic Shakespeare and the format is consistent with that of The London Shakespeare and other scholarly editions of his works. With only 1,000 copies printed, it can be expected to become a highly sought-after collectable once those have been sold. Unlike those used in many other book tests, this book may be freely handled by members of the audience, yet the performer need never handle it himself. While none of the methods employed are new, the manner in which they are keyed to the text and to each other is subtly disguised and the suggested ways of directing the spectator’s attention to the words, passages, or images to be revealed accord the performer a considerable degree of flexibility in making his revelations without reliance on other props or devices, suspicious forces, fishing/asking questions, or having anything written down, yet will defy detection under the degree of scrutiny the book might receive during performance.
— Dick Christian
Thank you for The Shakespeare Experiment. It is the most beautiful volume in my magic library, which consists of over 1500 titles.
— Stephan Kirschbaum
The Shakespeare Experiment maintains the high production standards of The Miracle Factory. This is definitely the finest looking book-test ever produced, and visibly one of the most authentic looking. Equally well produced is the instructional CD, covering the thought and design process, plus a number of nuances that will elevate your performance. This book will have you securing your reputation as both a mentalist and a scholar and deserves a standing ovation.
— Jon Randall, Editor, Pentacle Magazine
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Approx. Price: $300.00 (2009) ***Notice: I am not a dealer and this item is not for sale on this site. It maybe available in the links below or at our sister site: qualitymagicsales.com, but not from here so please do not ask.
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