New Victory Arts Break: Asia – Connect

We have spent time exploring the performing arts in Asia, including putting magic tricks up our sleeves and being ridiculous clowns with New Victory Teaching Artists and our friends at GRUEJARM in South Korea. To close out our journey, let’s work on creating characters through costumes, makeup and personalities to get performance-ready. What do you get when you put a fun persona, magical tricks, comedic timing and a glam look all together? Voila! A successful magic show!

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Arts Break Asia Connect


GRUEJARM is all about magic, but their magic shows also rely on another essential element: character. Inspired by silent film comedians, GRUEJARM’s performers lean on particular clowning techniques to create their characters: some are super silly, some are super serious, all are entertaining! This week, we’ll explore how to level up your magic show and get ready to perform it.

Check out this video from New Victory Teaching Artist Sarah Petersiel as she shows us how making big choices about character and emotion can change the performance of a magic trick.

Let’s make some magician character choices and see how many personalities we can explore before finding our stage personas. Refer back to Sarah’s Magic Menu to remember all the choices we get to make:

Magic Menu


  • What trick would you like to perform?
  • Will you be playing a heightened version of yourself, or a costumed character?
  • Will you use words or perform the trick silently?
  • How does your character feel about magic? Happy? Scared? Excited?

Try your trick a couple of times, switching up your choices each time. Think:

  • How does your choice change the way you perform your trick?
  • Which version gets the biggest reactions from the audience? How does that feel?
  • What is your favorite choice to make? Which one is the most fun?

New Victory Usher Christopher Lucik was inspired to create a magician persona. Watch this video and see if you can tell which choices from the Magic Menu Christopher made to create his performance.

Character-dabra with GRUEJARM

GRUEJARM pulls from their own magic menu to create characters and memorable performances. Here are a few magical videos – what character choices can you identify in these performances?

New Look, New You!

Magic alone doesn’t make a magic show—performance is the other key element! Performing in character requires bold choices on body movement, costuming and presentation. It’s the part of the show that really “sells” the magic.

Let’s keep crafting characters to discover the magic they can conjure. First, let’s come up with a name for your magician persona! It could even be inspired by GRUEJARM. Remember, GRUEJARM is an acronym, which means all the letters in the word stand for a different word or phrase. An acronym is an abbreviated way to say what you mean, and it is a chance to create a fun word with a secret inside. Pretty magical!

Let’s remember what GRUEJARM actually stands for:

Glorious Rare Unique Exciting Joyful Arts Rapt Mystery


Did You Know: The name also translates from Korean to describe the state in between reality and a dream!

Maybe you can build your magician name as an acronym. Get creative! What different names can you come up with?

Here are a few we thought of!

FAM: Fierce Amazing Magician
SMARTY: Sharp Magic Art Rockin’ Talented Youngin’
WOMP WOMP: Wild Old Mandalorian Prince With Ombre Magic Ponytails

Now that you have chosen your name, write it down in your New Victory Notebook and let’s think about our costume and makeup.

FAM Notebook

GRUEJARM takes inspiration from vaudeville tramp clowns and silent film performers in their costume and makeup design. Can you see the connection?

Charlie Chaplin


Maybe you have a favorite film or stage character that can inspire your performance look! Of course, we can also look to GRUEJARM’s other characters for inspiration:

SNAP Characters

Inspired by magicians, clowns and characters: come up with your very own look! Think about what costume pieces and makeup styles you’d like to use. Or maybe your character dresses and looks just like you!

Sarah's 3 Characters

Use the “Create Your Character’s Look” worksheet or simply sketch in your New Victory Notebook.

Tip: It doesn’t have to be silly from head to toe. Sometimes a regular outfit paired with a funny hat or silly shoes is even funnier than a full-on wacky outfit!

Clown Template Page 1

Clown Template Page 2

Here is our clown inspired idea in our notebook!

Clown Notebook Example

Casting Characters: Wayang Kulit Style

Characters and performance live at the center of almost every performing art form. Wayang Kulit is a form of traditional shadow-puppetry from Bali, Indonesia that brings together elements from all the island’s rich cultural traditions, including music, ritual and comedy. The Brothers Čampur—puppeteer Putu Rekayasa, theater artist Sam Jay Gold, and ethnomusicologist Ian Coss—have presented this dynamic and inherently interdisciplinary art form to audiences in both Indonesia and the United States. The Brothers Čampur aim to inform, inspire and entertain at once—mixing sacred with silly, love scenes with slapstick and tradition with innovation. See what character design choices these artists made, and think about what elements make each character distinct.

The Brothers Campur

Youth Corps Spotlight

At the end of every fourth week of New Victory Arts Break: Explore a World of Arts, we will be introducing a member of the New 42 Youth Corps who has a connection to the art forms, themes and artistic processes we’ve been exploring.

Youth Corps Spotlight on Yuni

Meet Yuni Ortiz,
New 42 Youth Corps Member

Stage makeup can be a great tool for creating, specifying and expressing character. Makeup can also be a tool for expression off the stage! Our Youth Corps Spotlight, Yuni, spoke with New Victory Education Fellow, William Porter, about her aspiration to be a professional makeup artist. She is super excited to get us inspired by her makeup journey and to teach us a few fun stage looks.

W: What role does makeup artistry have in your life?
Y: It makes me happy when I’m really really sad and it helps me express myself.

W: What do you wish to accomplish with this artistry?
Y: I want to become a viral makeup YouTuber.

W: What’s your favorite makeup brand?
Y: Morphe or Maybelline.

W: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Y: Teleportation!

W: What are your hobbies?
Y: Reading, cleaning, drawing and…makeup!

W: What’s your favorite color?
Y: Mint green or yellow. I never fully decided.

Here are a few pieces from Yuni’s portfolio that she wanted to share with us.

Artist Triptych

Following along with Yuni as she teaches us two makeup looks! Feel like letting out your inner animal? Follow along for Yuni’s Tiger Look.

Have some fun being whimsical (and maybe even a little creepy!) with this Teen Doll Look.

Maybe these looks inspire you to create a whole new character. Practice with a grown-up and see if you can come up with a few new looks of your very own!

That wraps up this leg of our journey. We hope you enjoyed New Victory Arts Break: Explore a World of Arts – Asia. Tune in next time on our trip to visit friends in Africa!

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.