The Rose Act: An Analysis

By Joshua Jay - Tuesday, October 29, 2019


There are effects in our era--moments, really--that somehow transcend what we thought possible. And these same effects and moments are always surrounded by controversy and doubt at first. But upon closer reflection, they represent a sea change.

The Rose Act might be one of these moments. Will Tsai performed this trick on America's Got Talent, and it went INSTANTLY viral. I haven't been asked about a trick more often since David Blaine levitated. And just like Blaine's levitation, this was met with a strong chorus of magician-doubters, casting the trick aside as impractical, mechanical and methodologically transparent. But is this fair?

Will Tsai's Rose Act

Will Tsai's Visual Matrix

As it turns out, it's not fair. The effect has been released, and to my surprise (and I would guess everyone's surprise), it isn't as mechanical as you would think. Yes, black art is involved, and yes, it isn't sleight-of-hand. But it isn't a digital screen and there are no remotes. It's quite "analogue" in how it works, actually.

But more importantly, "The Rose Act" looks more magical than virtually any magic trick we've encountered. It looks real. Magicians rarely exhibit such visceral, visual effects where items shift and change WITHOUT cover. Will did it.

Do you have to have special props? Particular lighting? A controlled environment? Yep. But since when are THOSE considerations disqualifiers? The same could be said of David Blaine's levitation sequence, and with twenty years of hindsight, it's abundantly clear that this trick succeeded in its aims. It is still one of David Blaine's most enduring legacy tricks, and the public associates it with him still.

I think this is a beautiful piece of magic. It's visual and memorable. On the method side, it's easy to do, comes with everything you need, and ready to be performed. There will be doubters, and there will be limitations. But this trick represents part of a shift in the magical zeitgeist, and I'm excited for what comes next.

Watch The Rose Act


Reader comments:

Ron

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 12:33 PM - Reply to this comment

Agreed. Although I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to perform the act—as opposed to leaving it with the one who lit this match.

Greg

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 22:14 PM - Reply to this comment

Yes, beautiful for sure, and very very magical. With TV cameras above, it's spectacular. Perhaps it can someday be translated into an act one might actually do, other than on TV (that is, with people standing across the "close up pad" from the magician and watching the magic). That would be something!

Neil

Friday, 01 November 2019 19:40 PM - Reply to this comment

Can this be performed in a closeup parlor setting?

Peter

Monday, 04 November 2019 12:01 PM - Reply to this comment

Sometimes beautiful magic is what you make of a product. How many times have we purchased an item only to discard it as cheap and nasty. Sure there might be limitations such as at a table without camera above etc but again just the thought of owing something and understanding where Wills mind was at when he invented this masterpiece is enough. At $300 it really is a steal when you think about it. It is limited and so priced outside some as to not expose the secret. I believe this is setting a benchmark for items without the digital space attached to it. Another is Balance odf which I too do own. Now it is up to the purchasers to figure out how this can be utilized and presented other than the obvious. It is really all in the presentation. We have seen many items that don't deserve the price-tag but I for one just want to own this. Thank you Will for giving us something that will function over the terrible knock offs.' A true great magician is someone who thinks of his supporters over and about just a quick buck.

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