As part of the orientation entertainment, we got to see Boris the Hypnotist. I went into the show with my usual doubts about anything that is vaguely reminiscent of magic and was fully prepared to break apart the show. And I am vaguely right to break it apart, but what I think I've gotten out of it is actually something more worthwhile than I initially expected.
The most important thing to realize is that a hypnotism show is actually mislabeled. It is mislabeled for a reason, but it could be accurately title as something else. I would put into the class of involuntary amateur directed improv. That doesn't sell tickets so the hypnotist title is very important.
To begin with the volunteering bit. A lot of people went up to the stage and sat through the deep sleep thing. And then a lot of people got sent back to their seats. What happened in this process was that Boris was finding out who was receptive to going into the correct state to do improv, and to begin teaching the acting skills necessary for the rest of the show.
The whole deep sleep activity isn't about having Boris to put you to sleep, it is about getting yourself to feel like you need to sleep. It is about forcing your body to feel as you want it to. You remember back to what it feels like to be sleepy, you being to feel sleepy, than you are sleepy. There is no magic, no mirrors, it is all just acting. There is a very important step in this part of the show in which Boris observed and felt each person: lifting an arm or nudging a shoulder. I'm sure that he has so much experience from doing this show that he can feel if someone is pretending to sleep, or acting.
There is an important difference between pretending and acting. When you pretend, it is a very shallow experience, it is probably limited to mental preconceptions that you have. Acting is based upon past experience and reliving those moments, letting them overwhelm you.
So once Boris was finish selecting his cast for the show he simply had to begin doing an entertaining improv show. He had to lead everyone through everything, and had to hold everything together.
Whenever he was telling people to "sleep" he was simply directing them as a director does. He wasn't actually making them go to sleep. As the performance got more and more layered, the show got more and more interesting. Slowly everyone was learning to act better, and the show continue to grow in hilariousness, but also in heart. I was so amazed with how good these "non" actors were at acting. I actually felt fear, danger and anger in them that I rarely see anywhere else.
It is odd because I don't think this experience could exist without the title of hypnotism, yet I feel as though the title cheapens it at the same time.
I am extremely impressed with this show and with the talent of all of those who participated.
I am unsure if I would have been a good participant in the show. I think now that I see the great value this show offers, I think I would do better, but I think it would require a lot more time to get into the correct roles. It would probably take more than the amount of time that was given to the show, but I think I could get into it none the less.
I better take an acting class or something. I have at least read a book on acting already.