An upcoming steampunk-inspired production will have audience members joining a trio of hypnotists on stage on an adventurous search for a girl who has mysteriously disappeared.
“Our intrepid volunteers will be sent on a quest to find poor little lost Katie,” says Vancouver Hypnotherapy founder Rob Hadley about the Harlequin Hypnosis Show, a production he’s spent two years developing. “During that quest, they will have to overcome numerous obstacles and challenges, which we’ll find in their way.”
The show will feature three hypnotists as the show’s puppeteers. They will hypnotize audience members and guide them through what Angie Bender, one of the hypnotists, describes as a “journey of adventure, unpredictability and imagination.” The new work, which premiered at The Improv Centre in Granville Island, performed at Port Moody’s Inlet Theatre in February and will be at Vancouver’s Orpheum Annex on March 22, 2014.
“It’s differing from the line of chairs on the stage, doing the same routines,” says Bender about what makes Harlequin a unique hypnosis experience. “There’s the story element to it like there is in regular theatre, but because we’re dealing with audience participation, it’s going to be very unscripted.”
Hadley describes audience experience from his past shows as one of the driving influences in the creation of Harlequin. “One thing we’ve been doing is taking a leaf out of the online games book to look at audience experience and chart [that] through the process of the show.” Hadley states that this not only allows them to see what currently works in their favour, but also “the process that makes, for instance, the building of suspense actually work.”
Attendees are encouraged to dress in steampunk style, a visual mix of Edwardian fashion and early 20th century steam technology, and there will be a cash prize for the person who comes in the best costume. Costumes play a role in the show, according to Hadley, as visuals will make the adventure more realistic for the hypnotized audience members. “When someone is in hypnosis, when they see things which affirm their belief in hypnosis, they become more deeply entrenched in the hypnotic experience.”
For those not familiar with steampunk, information has been made available on the show’s website. The website also includes storylines to add to the experience, a hypnosis sound file, and a link to purchase tickets for a discounted price.
The Harlequin Hypnosis Show
March 22, 2014
Venue: Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour Street)
Advanced tickets here
Photo Credit: Katherine Kingston.