A unique show which combines hypnosis with improvisation is coming to the Capitol Centre on January 28.
HYPROV: Improv Under Hypnosis is performed by master hypnotist Asad Mecci and improv comedy legend Colin Mochrie.
“Personally, it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done as a performer,” says world-renowned improv veteran Colin Mochrie of the high-wire comedy show.
“I look into their dead eyes and wonder if it’s going to be a very long night. So far, we’ve been really lucky,” adds Mochrie.
But Mochrie and Mecci both call the hypnotized folks their peers and not their victims. But there are some misconceptions about hypnotism that Mecci wants to clear up.
“There is a common misconception that when you are hypnotized you are actually asleep,” said Mecci in an interview with BayToday.
“Observably they look relaxed, they look asleep, but they are actually aware of what is going on. They can hear everything that I am saying throughout the show and they are highly responsive to my suggestion and at no time are they unconscious, they are consciously aware of what is going on.”
Mecci says the trick is working with the unconscious mind.
“So it is sort of a hack,” he explains.
Mecci says every subject reacts differently to hypnosis. Each night, Mecci welcomes twenty volunteers on stage, hypnotizes them, whittles them down to four or five of the most susceptible and then brings Mochrie out to improvise with them.
“Some get almost like they are drugged out, some are very intense and focussed, but right from the beginning it just kind of worked,” said Mochrie, who perfected improvisation during his time on the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”
Mochrie says some of those reactions are priceless.
“We did a show in London, Just for Laughs, and the guy said to me, ‘you know I was not really hypnotized but I did not want to ruin the show so I just went along with it.’ I said, ‘oh, because when you were kissing me you really seemed into it.’ and he went, ‘what!'” he said.
“So he had been hypnotized but had not quite remembered that part for some reason, and I am a good kisser,” Mochrie joked.
Mochrie says usually one hypnotized visitor stands out above the rest.
“Every night there is a clear star, and you never know who it is going to be,” explained Mochrie.
“We have had everyone from a young woman who suffered from social anxiety to this 80-year-old stroke survivor to a guy who worked at the Mayo Clinic so it is tempting but there are thousands of people out there with untapped improv potential so we are trying to find them all.”