Hypnotist Jason Cyrus prepares to delight NL audiences with his one-of-a-kind family-friendly show that makes those who believe stars of the show as they release their inner rock star
Even emails sent by hypnotist Jason Cyrus ooze enthusiasm with his smiley faces, exclamation marks and his ‘Be Great’ sign off. But then, being personable, approachable and trustworthy is certainly an asset when you’re asking total strangers to hand over their minds and bodies (sort of) to a showman hypnotist for two hours on a local stage.
The Book of Friendliness
Cyrus laughs, ensuring he’s made a friend for life when he counters praise with flattery. “As a Newfoundlander you folks wrote the book on being friendly,” he offers.
Cyrus would know; he’s been here many times and has the affection for the place to prove it.
“I absolutely love Newfoundland. Of all of the places I’ve been, the Newfoundland people are some of the most warm, welcoming and supportive people throughout Canada.”
After one show in this province an audience member approached him and invited him to “pop over” the next morning for breakfast. That just doesn’t happen elsewhere, the New Brunswick native shares.
“The hospitality is unlike any other, and I haven’t been Screeched-in officially yet, so I just may this trip.”
So, this hypnotism business, as a stage act. What exactly happens? Cyrus explains that he starts by inviting a large number of people from the audience onstage. From there, a select, smaller group usually fall into a deep state of hypnosis and they then become the stars of the show for the next two hours.
Can anyone be hypnotized? Apparently so, he says. “If you can fall asleep you can be hypnotized. You have to be able to shut off and let go. Just don’t over think the whole experience. You won’t hear Twilight music in the background and it won’t feel like you’ve been hit in the head with a baseball bat and it won’t be yes master, no master. It’s not like that at all. It’s actually a very simple feeling.”
Like driving somewhere and not being aware of anything until suddenly, there you are. “You still get where you’re going. I’m just a guide that puts you in that same state that we’re actually already in maybe 70 per cent of the time.”
Inner Rock Star
Trust is a huge thing; knowing that this is a family friendly show where everyone has good, clean fun is key, he says. It’s also entertaining and mind blowing as ma or pa or great-auntie Mable are lulled into a somnambulistic state (a deep trance-like state where the subject sometimes resembles a sleepwalker). Suddenly, someone who’s never danced before can master the complex art of Riverdance.
“What I’m releasing is everybody’s inner rock star. We have conscious and unconscious parts of the brain,” he explains.
“I’m after the unconscious, automatic area, the part that’s the momma bear of the mind, and I become the gatekeeper, dropping suggestions; on the count of three you’re going to become a Riverdancer, when you hear a certain song you’re going to become a rock star, when I snap my fingers you’re going to forget your name or you forget numbers, and it just automatically happens.” Participants remember actions, so don’t worry if you feel you might miss the show if you partake.
The real stars of the show are the audience members who make it onstage, he stressed.
“It’s hysterical. These people are sweating and working hard entertaining the audience. They are doing the work, and if I didn’t have them there would be no show,” he says modestly.
How does one find themselves in such a career, we ask. Cyrus laughs. He grew up the son of an entertainer; his father was a country music singer, but Cyrus was more the hockey star. At least for a while. He later uncovered his inner stage diva.
“I’d score six goals playing hockey and then run and change and put on a pair of pantyhose to go be a troll in a play. I loved theatre and loved the fact that I could make people laugh and I chose hypnosis as a way of continuing that.”
There’s a clinical side to what he does as well.
“As much as I love being on stage for two hours helping people forget their worries, in my clinic I change people’s lives,” he says, explaining he deals with everything from quitting smoking to a fear of flying.
But his passion remains sharing the stage with anyone willing to hand over their mind and body for two hours of fun-for-all. “Bring the entire family. Everyone is there to enjoy non-stop laughter. It’s something no one has ever seen,” he says passionately.
Cyrus, always the personable, and oh-so-charming man of the theatre, has some final words of encouragement for anyone sitting on the fence.
“My goal is to have everybody come out with their family. My little girl is nine years old and she goes to my show regularly and kids just love seeing their parents up there. Come. Leave stresses and worries at the door. And thank-you all for even thinking about coming to see the show. I just can’t wait to return to Newfoundland.”
For more visit artsandculturecentre.com (Corner Brook) or holyhearttheatre.com (St. John’s)