Returning to Andover for a second performance, Chris Jones, a Chicago-based hypnotist, displayed his prowess at hypnotizing the conscious mind in a laughter-filled Tang Theatre last Saturday night.
Jones opened the evening by asking for a volunteers to be subjects of his hypnosis, Jones invited 12 students to sit on a row of chairs on the stage. With the aid of soothing music, Jones asked his student volunteers to sit back and relax while taking deep breaths.
He led his volunteers to a state of complete serenity by guiding them through the step-by-step process of muscle relaxation and emptying the mind of thoughts. Jones also involved the general audience in his hypnosis process, encouraging everyone in the room to fall into a deep sleep.
While there are numerous students who slipped into deep sleep, some remained wide awake and unaffected by Jones’ hypnosis. The students that were awake carefully observed the audience members that had fallen asleep during the performance.
“His hypnosis was real, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that everyone was asleep. Some people really were, but I also questioned how many [of the people on stage] were consciously in control of their own actions,” said Kaylee Llewellyn ’15. “I almost fell asleep. It felt like everything was becoming numb. The only thing you could sense was his voice.”
“Some of the people who were hypnotized seemed less believable than others as if they weren’t really under but overall, it was a really a funny show because the things that [Jones] made them do were just absolutely hilarious,” said Emma Kahn ’14.
The small handful of students who apparently slipped under Jones’ spell joined him on stage to act in the various hilarious and outrageous scenarios he painted.
In a make-believe scenario of a party bust, Mark Meyer ’13 took up the identity of funk singer Rick James to avoid getting arrested. Liana Brooks ’15 interrupted Jones, who pretended to be a police officer, by singing the song “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.
“I didn’t actually get fully hypnotized. [Jones] said I was halfway in, half-way out.” said Pearson Goodman ’13, one of the volunteers on stage. “I was one hundred percent aware of what was going on the entire time. I just felt extremely exhausted. When he told the people that they were at a party and they were going to get arrested, I knew I wasn’t at a party. I knew I was simply getting hypnotized. It just felt really tiring.”
Other scenarios that were acted up on stage included an out-of-control roller coaster ride, Prom—complete with awkward slow dances and couple pictures—as well as a press conference with President Barack Obama.
“My friends and I go to Denny’s and think up funny, stupid, crazy ideas that we’d like to see on stage. Some stuff works really well, [but] some [scenarios] needs to be developed in order for them to be funny,” said Jones.
According to Jones, he also tries to ensure that his shows are specially made for college and high school audiences. He wants the students to become the stars of the show.
After several successful scenarios, Jones woke the hypnotized students in a way that prevented them from remembering the events that occurred during their hypnosis until they left Tang.
Besides being impressed by Jones’ mastery of hypnosis, many students were also fond of Jones’ sense of humor.
“[The show] was absolutely crazy. I’ve watched a lot comedy before, but that was one of the funniest things that I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said Laurent Joli-Coeur ’15, an audience member. “I was laughing for an hour and a half straight. It was hilarious to see people who you already knew doing crazy things like being a shameless rockstar.”
Jones’ expertise in hypnosis is a result of seven years of college and graduate level sociology and psychology studies. According to Jones, he was able to refine his interest in hypnosis by performing in front of his college dorm mates.
Jones has performed in numerous high schools and major universities across the nation, according to his website. Other than being a skilled hypnotist, Jones is also a talented magician and comedian.