Thanks to this routine, I won the First prize in Mentalism at the French championship in 2008; it got me invited at the F.F.F.F. convention and allowed me to join this mythical group; finally, this routine owed me the Award of Merit during the Canadian championship of 2012.
The title of the routine comes from the classic movie Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson. I was six years old when it was released in France in 1989, so I only saw it years later. In this movie, Dustin Hoffman plays the role of an autistic person (inspired by real-life Kim Peek) and he received the Academy Award for Best Actor for this role. The movie slowly reveals that his character is a memory and mathematics genius, despite his inability to interact socially. The movie contains several scenes showcasing his abilities and these moments are wonderful effects of magic and mentalism. Among other things, the main character is able to memorise one or several shuffled deck of cards very quickly. Cinema has always been one of my main source of inspiration and this mental prowess inspired me to create my own routine and to give it this title.
« Rainman » is not an isolated routine. It evolved from my effect « Before the rain », a simpler idea with only one deck of cards.
After I created « Before the rain », I performed it in front of several audiences, both laypeople and magicians. But I was not entirely satisfied. After a while, I realised what could be one of the reasons: there was no real ending, something that would be really striking. During the summer of 2007, I showed the routine to my friend Frantz Réjasse. Then, almost as a joke, he told me it would be insane to try to imagine a similar routine with two decks. Of course, I started working on a 2-deck version right away.
I showed this new version to different people and they told me I should present it in a competition. The French national championship of 2008 was a few months away. I had the choice to perform in two categories: card magic or mentalism. Card magic was not really an option; although I was using cards during the routine, there was no visible technical prowess and I was afraid that the jury would wrongfully assume that it was a self-working routine, depriving me from the technical points in the final evaluation. The mentalism category was not much better, because I was not predicting anything, I was not guessing anything, I was doing a memory act. In the end, I decided to go for the mentalism category because it allowed more performance time and because my routine was more mental than visual.
Then I found the quote by O’Brien and I decided to make it the starting point of my presentation. It allowed me to announce that « the most magical and intriguing thing I have ever seen » was going to occur.
A few days before the competition, I implemented a heavy modification to the method, allowing me to get rid of one of the sleights in the routine. The day before the contest, during an ultimate rehearsal, I realised purely by chance that there was a particular case that was extremely risky during the first phase. I found a solution at the last minute. The morning of the next day, I was performing « Rainman » at the competition.
Étienne Pradier was presenting the contestants and their acts. He announced my name, I exited from the side of the stage, lightly jogging to the table, entered in front of a giant arena in the darkness. I heard myself starting my script automatically. It’s only when I introduced myself to the spectator that I fully regained control on the operations and that I continued to perform the routine consciously.
I finished the act and exited the stage. At this point in time, my experience was a black hole: when I left the stage, I had zero memory of what had just happened. It’s only several hours later that pieces of memory came back to me, then it was the award ceremony and I won the first prize in the mentalism category.
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