Mentalism as the Ability to Have a Relate-able Super Power
I’ve been playing with some mentalism lately (eg thought-reading) and experimenting with various structures/methods for presenting the work. One thing I’ve been thinking about lately (besides how greatly different it is from any sort of sleight of hand work I’ve done in the past) is how to create moments of a relate-able super power.
I think with mentalism, more so than many other types of magic (save for certain illusions) make room for the audience/participants to insert themselves into the performer’s shoes and imagine what it would be like to have the ability to read minds. It’s a naturally common idea, the idea to read someone else’s thoughts, versus the bizarrely unique skill of the classic sleight of hand trope of finding someone’s selected card in a shuffled deck.
It’s why People Stopped Looking (<— that’s a previous blog post on speaking with a mentalist) and it’s also why people want to see that process of the thought-reading. One thing I’ve been seeing more and more is how much my audiences love seeing that moment where I finally get the thought they’re thinking of, and, equally importantly, how I arrived at this conclusion.
Mentalism is inherently more about verbal storytelling than many other forms of magic and art. How do we let the audience take a ride along with us and feel like they, too, can read minds -- even if just for that very moment? It’s a special gift to give.