Hypnotism might have a place in everyone’s life every day, even without any intention.
Prefacing the family, or “mild,” edition of “Wild 4 Hypnosis Comedy Show” Saturday night, Rich Wylde asked everyone in this evening of audience participation if they’ve ever been hypnotized.
With his wife and co-host, Elizabeth Wylde, standing nearby, Rich Wylde gave some examples of why everyone could raise their hand, from undergoing hypnosis by happenstance: A driver, singing along to a favorite song on the radio, misses a turn on to a street, or a youth, so engaged in a video game, just can’t let a parent’s command to do something break his or her concentration.
The Wyldes opened their full slate of shows this spring at the Big Laughs Theatre, in the Millennium Run Plaza by Wal-Mart in Surfside Commons, off S.C. 544 near Surfside Beach. In El Cerro Grande’s former spot, this pair married for 23 years also serve up “wild” shows for ages 17 and older, and “fusion” editions, a blend of “mild” and “wild.”
Whether the audience – “the cheerleaders” – or the volunteers, all 12 or older, who ascend on stage, are entertained could go down as a toss-up. Elizabeth Wylde explained how “sights, sounds and smells” all factor in their hypnosis passages, “in a show based on your imagination” and “all about facial expressions.”
“We’re here to have fun with you, not make fun of you,” she said.
Starting with six females and two men seated in a row on stage, Rich Wylde set the tone for each sequence, requesting deep breaths and a peaceful state of mind, many times with participants’ eyes closed. In a calm voice with music to match, he initially encouraged relaxation in a slow, natural flow from head to toe, down from the eyes, cheeks, lips and chin through the rest of the body to the ankles and toes.
Scenarios varied, from pondering a favorite place to unwind such as in a lawn chair or on a tube on a lake, and envisioning a day at the beach, as the feelings, expressions and body motions shifted as the temperature rose past 100 degrees F, then with a cloud’s arrival and some rain, dipping to the 60s into the 20s, and back up to sun and the 80s.
The pace picked up in some episodes, such as make belief of holding a baby pooch, as Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love” played, and especially when the task entailed motions to milk a cow in a pretend contest to win $10,000, prompting mass laughter from the audience.
With a final three participants remaining on stage, they showed how differently they moved when rowing into a waterway and casting a fishing line, and reeling one in, before Wylde sounded the sight of a “sharrrrrrrrrrrk.”
“They all just threw their poles in. Did you see that?” Rich Wylde said.
He took the trio through several other sketches, such as eliciting feelings of watching the scariest movie, then the most romantic one, as Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ “(I’ve Had) The Time of Life,” from “Dirty Dancing,” filled the speakers. The man in the middle, Derek Gurley of Denton, N.C., casually put his arms around the shoulders of both women flanking him, Cherilyn Marshall of Charleston, and Debbie Harrison of Mich., but then, the film broke.
The three also were asked to do a series of dances, such as a belly dance, a zombie dance from the late Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, and “The Twist,” as each person flashed his or her style, all with smiles.
Standing in the lobby afterward, waiting with her young son for a DVD she purchased of this night’s show, Harrison, a registered nurse, said she was most impressed by the array of elements and to go places “if you really follow suggestion.”
“Just by suggestion, you can do whatever,” she said, wondering about returning with a group of friends to see another show.
Gurley called laughter, of which he heard plenty from the audience, “very fun to do,” as his family voiced their high marks for his cutting the rug.
Harrison, who looked surprised at times in the show, sometimes like she had a jolt, said she liked seeing herself and her colleagues respond to Rich Wylde’s scenes and to one another, and experiencing “a side of you so different.”
Elizabeth Wylde said every performance changes so much because of the “different stars on stage,” and that with family and friends who step up, “it’s always fun here if you know somebody up here.”
Her husband, with whom she shares three children and a grandchild, said they’ve done this show in Las Vegas and Florida, and have operated a comedy club in Wisconsin. Greeting people entering for the later “wild” show, he said a whole new adventure was ready to unfold and that with every show, “there’s never a dull moment.”
To start the evening, Rich Wylde also had tested people’s reactions and focus in his explaining how easily self-hypnotism turns up. Everyone was asked to hold up an index finger and follow along as he announced where to touch oneself, such as an ear or top of the head. When he said to go to one’s nose, but he touched his chin, a few people diverged.
Another example of “the subconscious at work,” he said: Someone else yawns, then the urge hits for you to yawn.