Comedy hypnotist and magician David Hall had the audience in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts roaring with laughter on Saturday, Jan. 20.
There was an atmosphere of anticipation in Curtiss Hall as students lined up and waited for the theatre entrance to open. Few students in the room were familiar with Hall, which only added to the experience.
“I was actually very skeptical coming into the event,” said Mary Brege, a first-year student and audience member who participated in the hypnosis routine. “That was my first time coming to a show like this, and everyone’s expectations, including mine, were kind of all over the place.”
Soon after the event began, late arrivals were hard-pressed to find an open seat in the theatre. Even those involved in planning Hall’s arrival seemed surprised by the crowd’s size.
“Turnout is usually high for most of our events,” said Valley Nights’ Senior Event Planner of Special Events Bonnie Zablocki. “But the attendance we saw tonight was fantastic.”
Following a few convincing examples of hypnosis and a short introductory speech on how the technique can be used, Hall was ready to begin the main event. Twenty volunteers chosen from the crowd at random were brought on stage and put into a trance.
Hall then asked the non-hypnotized portion of the audience for feedback on possible scenarios, some of which included hitting it big in a Las Vegas casino, being backstage at a Beyoncé concert and a dance competition complete with the hypnotic suggestion that the winner would have their college tuition completely paid for.
For the audience, the show matched the hype as those on stage appeared blissfully unaware that they were being watched and acted in a completely carefree manner.
Over an hour later, Hall safely took all participants out of their hypnosis-induced extroverted state, causing them to look red-faced while the memories of what had just occurred rushed back to them.
“After everything was finished, a lot of the memories that were blurry started to come back,” Brege said. “I even got a picture with the girl who I thought was Channing Tatum on the way out.”
The prospect of Hall returning to the SVSU campus seems likely.
“We always look to switch up our events and activities,” said Amelia Cuthbertson, a coordinator for Valley Nights. “But with the love shown towards him tonight, we are very much open to him coming back next year.”