Death Row Diner is a dark mentalism effect with an unsettling ending. Using seemingly ordinary looking props – an old card index box and a pile of vintage recipe cards – you slowly reveal that these relics are in-fact, anything but ordinary. The final reveal ensures your audience won’t forget the performance, leaving them with the feeling they’ve stepped inside the mind of a psychopath.
Death Row Diner is an easy to do routine requiring no slights, that can be used for close up or stage performances. If you can cut a deck of cards you can perform this routine. It’s a highly effective routine with a dark history using authentic-looking, period correct props.
The performer begins by opening an old card index box, they remove a stack of vintage recipe cards tied with string together with an old envelope then close the box. The performer unties the string and begins to display the recipe cards showing that they are all different, drawing attention to the ingredients – American favourites such as Philly Cheesesteak and Apple Pie.
Next, the performer enlists the help of a spectator and explains that in the envelope there’s a photograph of someone. The performer states that they’d like to see if a mental connection can be made between the person in the photo and the spectator and suggests using the cards for an experiment.
The performer asks the spectator to place the palm of their left hand over the envelope. The recipe cards are gathered together and the performer asks the spectator cut the cards face down while they look away, the performer then asks the spectator to look at the card cut to and concentrate on the meal, imagining what it looked like, smelled like and how it tasted.
The performer begins to accurately reveal the contents of the card. With hit after hit, the precise ingredients are revealed, the cooking method and finally, the name of the recipe.
The performer then asks the spectator if they are familiar with the term ‘last meal’ and explains what it is. Slowly they open the box lid, drawing attention to the label inside, revealing that all the recipes were in fact the final meals of prisoners executed at Sing Sing prison.
The performer then goes on to state that one of the meals was a favourite of the person in the photo the spectator has been holding and asks them to remove the contents of the envelope. The spectator removes an old photo with a newspaper clipping attached, the clipping is unfolded and the spectator is asked to read it out aloud – to their horror they reveal the unnerving connection they just made with one of Sing Sing’s most notorious inmates.
These props are not off the shelf items. They have been carefully reproduced and aged to resemble actual items that would have been around during the 1930s – one of the busiest and most notorious periods in the history of Sing Sing’s infamous electric chair.
- 40 vintage recipe cards tied with string
- An aged, vintage card index box with period-correct label
- Aged photo and newspaper clipping
- Instruction booklet and full routine
- Presentation box
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