At his command, David Hall sent 21 contestants immediately slumping in their chairs, some heads touching the shoulder of the person next to them in front of darkened, blue lights and soothing synth.
“And…sleep!”, Hall said.
When the participants awoke, they were on a beach in the Bahamas, as they were commanded to “kick back” as Hall fanned the sea breeze. Some wiped sweat from their brows as Hall increased the temperature.
“Hotter and hotter, it’s so hot”, Hall said.
Suddenly, a soothing, cold drink was given to them, and they drank. A cold wind snappishly blew, making each patron shrink in their chair on stage.
The command gave the stars a blanket of comfort.
Cards Against Hypnosis was a show in Saturday Albert Taylor Hall, which mimicked a popular game that encouraged participation from the audience: “Cards Against Humanity.”
Hall choose to spinoff the popular party game because he wanted “to get the audience to participate through the show and choose which bits they want the people to perform.”
The “black card” would be a setup, such as “You have just turned 5 years old, on your birthday you get…”, then the white card would be the audience’s choice, and in this case, it was between a puppy and a favorite toy. The audience was split when voting, so they went with both.
The hypnotized would awake believing they are five years old and unwrap a present for their birthday. For some, it was a puppy and for others it was a new pair of shoes. There were many events throughout the show just like this.
Tanner Rule, freshman social sciences education major, performed “Single Ladies” with her backup dancers as Beyoncé.
Rylen Hansen, freshman secondary education major, performed the ABC’s.
A full ride scholarship was on the line at a dance competition, bringing back middle school memories with Gangnam Style, and each star completed the InMyFeelings Challenge.
After winning the scholarship, Tate McRell, freshman elementary education major, said
“I’m a fucking boss.”
Each patron thought they hated dancing, until they heard the words “do the Harlem Shake.”
As each segment expanded on the previous, Hall said he has been in the hypnosis industry for 14 years, with three of them performing this show.
Hall was inspired “about 15 years ago” by a hypnosis show he saw.
“I was fascinated with it,” Hall said. “I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Hall went on and studied hypnosis in college and received training in “comedy stage hypnosis.”
After staging what Hall coins as a “hypnotic induction”, participants are put into a “trance."
“Everyone goes in and out of a trance all day long…it almost feels like you’re zoned out," Hall said. “When (participants) are…hypnotized, they’re getting relaxed to the point where they’ll take suggestions into their subconscious…”
Hall said “you can’t hypnotize someone to do something that they don’t want to do.”
“Most of the things in my show…are very easy to understand and also are thing that people are willing to do,” Hall said.
Two people were dismissed from the stage because they “woke up”, Hall said. Only about a “handful” of people are dismissed per show on average, according to Hall.