Hypnosis and improvisation come together in a show coming to Windsor and Chatham
Improv comedy legend and Whose line is it anyway? Star Colin Mochrie arrives at Windsor’s Chrysler Theater on Saturday with master hypnotist Asad Mecci for a show like no other.
Hyprov: Improvisation under hypnosis is the name of her show. It ran for 70 shows on Broadway in New York City and toured across North America – now the show will spend two weekends in Windsor and Chatham.
Mochrie said the show featured an unusual cast — 20 members of the audience under hypnosis improvising alongside Mochrie.
And Mecci said the people he hypnotizes can match Mochrie’s decades of improvisation.
“Sometimes [Mochrie] only reacts because they steal the show from everyone,” said Mecci.
Hyprov meets Canadian stages
Mecci said he emailed Mochrie about the idea for Hyprov.
The couple tested the idea at Toronto’s Second City in 2016 before taking it to Just for Laughs Montreal and overseas to Just for Laughs London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
LISTEN: Colin Mochrie and Asad Mecci join Windsor Morning
The show then went on a 60-city tour of North America before phasing off Broadway.
“We are very excited to bring the show back to Canada now. We’re already on the east coast,” Mecci said.
He gave a glimpse of what audiences can expect from the show. He said Hyprov’s “Crescendo” was “an old radio play where Colin is a detective trying to solve the case.”
Mochrie said Hyprov helped him return to his improv roots and provide challenging improv scenarios that require him to stay focused.
“I love doing this show because it’s a new way of improvising for me,” he said.
Mochrie said Hyprov not only performs well but shows what ordinary viewers can do when their inhibitions are taken away.
“Ultimately the show is entertainment, but there’s also a component that shows you what you can do if you get rid of the person who’s stopping you from doing things you can do, which is yourself.”
Improvisation and hypnosis reduce self-reflection
Mochrie once said he was doing an improv show in San Francisco when a viewer named Dr. Charles Limb asked him if he would take part in a study.
Mochrie said he improvised for an hour and a half while being monitored by an MRI brain scanner.
“What they found was the part of the brain that deals with self-reflection, the part of your brain that you know says, ‘You know, like you’re going to be embarrassed, don’t do that.’ Activity there is waning and creativity is picking up,” he said.
“It’s the same when you’re hypnotized.”
Mecci said when he hypnotizes people’s part of their brains, self-reflection becomes “disconnected,” and when they can’t reflect on their behavior, they become more suggestible.
“Primary improvisations will play in front of the crowd, they will hesitate, they will use filler words and they will look nervous. While people who are hypnotized carry out my suggestions without hesitation,” he said.
For anyone worried about leaving the show still hypnotized, Mecci said hypnotic trances only last a few minutes once he’s done with the show.
“After the show ends, we remove all suggestions, give them positive suggestions, and then they feel great,” he said.
The show will be played at the Chrysler Theater in Windsor tonight and at the Capitol Theater in Chatham on February 18th.