I have chosen to leave this section until last for several reasons. Firstly it is something that is very difficult to put into words, as in my own experience it is something that I feel is heavily reliant upon your own hunches. That said there are some points that I feel are important to consider before attempting suggestion sequences upon spectators.
Before performing any kind of suggestion sequence, I always perform a good, strong stand alone theatrical piece of Mentalism. I hope to set the tone for the rest of the show, as I have covered in the 'First Thing First' section. It will instantly either live up to the expectations of the audience, or break their negative preconceptions. Either way you are moving in the right direction. This alone however is not enough.
I often use another idea, something that many hypnotists and suggestion artists have used to great effect in the past and fits well within my own performances. It also singles out a good spectator for suggestion type routines.
I will home in on three or maybe four spectators who I feel will respond well to my suggestions - I normally end up with a young mildly attractive female spectator with self-confidence. A personal preference, but I tend to end up with a young blonde woman with self-confidence. As I said, a matter of personal preference. However at the risk of sounding like a male chauvinistic pig, I actually feel my material works best with someone I find attractive. I tend to perform with more conviction and passion. This is something I have always done - however I find this tends to spur my performance on further.
From the two or three, I then attempt a quick sequence with a page 159
pendulum. I borrow some items from each of the spectators. I lay them onto the table. I then explain the notion of the pendulum and use it as a way of making the rest of the performance more believable. I talk of the subtle body movements we all have, but may or may not be aware of.
I then allow each person to hold the pendulum and hold it above each object telling them that the pendulum will remain still until they come to their object, which they must focus upon. Due to the nature of the pendulum this will happen. I allow each of the three to do this. During this, I watch for which spectator made the pendulum move the most. I then follow this up with one final sequence, which wraps up the pendulum sequence well and also reassures me in my decision.
I have the spectator focus upon one of the objects, telling them they can think of any of the objects they see in front of them. I then explain that the pendulum will remain still until it is held over the object they are focusing upon. This will happen. I will not cover the workings of this in detail as I am sure all of you are already familiar with it.
I now have zeroed in from the three spectators I felt were the most likely to respond to my suggestions to the one I feel will respond best, all under the guise of an effect - an effect that actually plays very well.
You are now free to move on into further test to build suggestion or continue on with your pendulum routine and move forward with your suggestion effects later in the set.
This approach has served me well in the zeroing in on a spectator I feel able to work well with. There is nothing new here; it is simply the way I pull it all together to make it into an effect, so nothing need be done pre-show. That said it also makes for a compelling and useful demonstration.
...afterword by Peter Nardi
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