Hypnotist brings act to Rocky's Route 8
Audience volunteers typically spark the heartiest laughs in stage hypnotist Jason Christopher's novel comedy show.
After he puts each volunteer into a trance state — that semi-awake state you feel before falling asleep — Christopher then directs the volunteers to act out imaginary scenes — usually with amusing, unpredictable results.
“Hypnosis is the ability to put someone into a trance state where they become highly receptive to suggestion,” said Christopher, 38, of Bethel Park and Clermont, Fla., a nationally roving professional entertainer.
Christopher promises that he won't ask anyone to cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog when he performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at Rocky's Route 8 in Shaler.
He may, however, ask volunteers to talk as if they're from Mars and visiting Earth for the first time.
Christopher routinely films his shows and offers the videos for sale after performances so participants can witness their on-stage antics.
“Typically, they will not remember what has gone on,” Christopher said about the amnesia that commonly accompanies hypnosis.
“A lot of friends of the volunteers will buy a copy of the DVD because the volunteers won't believe what they did,” he said.
Christopher's family-friendly performances vary in length, depending on how many people volunteer to become hypnotized.
“It starts off with me giving the audience a general overview of the some of the facts and fiction of hypnosis,” Christopher said.
“A lot of people think they have to be weak-willed for hypnosis to work for them, and the exact opposite is true,” he said. “The stronger-willed you are and the more you're able to focus and pay attention, the quicker and easier you'll go into a trance.
“Everyone who is willing to be hypnotized can be hypnotized,” said Christopher, a Robert Morris University graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting.
As a child, Christopher received a magic kit and gradually developed his skill at performing magic tricks — and marketing himself as a magician.
“I was working at Mellon Bank for 40 hours a week, making $20,000 (a year), and I was doing magic, making $20,000 (a year) and working four hours a week,” Christopher said. “It didn't take me long to realize that I definitely shouldn't be pursuing the accounting field and should go into magic full time.”
After years of performing illusions at high school proms and after-proms, Christopher became a certified stage hypnotist after training with Geoff Ronning of the Stage Hypnosis Center based in Litchfield, Ariz.
A server at Rocky's Route 8 learned about Christopher on Craigslist.
“We were looking for different types of entertainment,” said Mary Ann Mori, co-owner with Rocky Mori of the restaurant, currently celebrating its fifth anniversary year.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. “Jason Christopher Comedy Hypnosis Show” at Rocky's Route 8 are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
Rocky's Route 8 is at 602 Wilruth Drive, Shaler. For information, call 412-487-6259.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.