Though I wouldn’t necessarily call Alain Nu: Mindbender a “magic” show, there were some components that made the audience say “How did he do that?” Even more interesting were the one in which some said “How did I do that?”
On his website, Nu explains he demonstrates ways of “simulating much more elaborate concepts of the connective potential of our thoughts.” In other words (and in my words), he plays with your mind in a very real way through hypnosis, mind reading, “psychic energy,” ESP, whatever you want to call it. Though it’s a bit strange and you leave wondering what just happened, it manages to be a fun evening.
Though I don’t want to give away the whole show, I will spill a bit of what I found most impressive.
Hypnosis is, of course, interesting and fun. But one can never know if the person actually believes he or she is a chicken or is just really talented at faking laying an egg. So I’m skeptical. The hypnotism Nu demonstrated, however, actually worked (or so I will tell myself). Rather than making any individual look like a complete fool, Nu just wanted to bring two people’s thoughts together. He did the typical “you are feeling relaxed” and other hypno-talk, but he also made sure to indicate that the two women on the stage were aware of the other’s presence and met each other in their thoughts. To demonstrate they did, Nu tapped one of them on the arm. When he asked the woman who was tapped to raise her hand, it was the woman who wasn’t touched that did so. The woman who actually was touched didn’t think she was. Difficult to explain over a critique, but it should still sound pretty impressive.
One more: Nu bent an ordinary spoon with his mind/energy/ESP-whatever. The spoon sat on his hand and by using his mind-type talent, it rotated around completely and bent in half. Was it a trick spoon? I don’t believe so. The reason I say that is because he gave each of us a spoon to try it with. He told us to use our energy and concentrate on the feel of the spoon. Apparently, when you concentrate there is a five-to-ten second window when the spoon feels weak and one can move it in any way using the mind. Well, it worked for approximately 10 people (out of about 75) and they left with their own bent spoon! Fun stuff no matter how you slice it (or spoon it).
Of course, I had to have a bent spoon before I left so I asked him to bend mine at the end of the show. Standing with just a few of his audience members, he took my spoon in his hand, concentrated on it, had the other hand hovering over it and it moved, it twisted and it bent. Now, I have my very own spoon bracelet. How many people can say that?
Nu challenges even sceptics to believe in the power of the mind. And if he doesn’t get to you? Well, you’ve still had a free, fun evening.
- Running Time: 50 minutes
- Tickets: Alain Nu: Mindbender This show is FREE but you need reservations.
- Remaining Shows: Fri, July 25 at 6 . Fril July 25 at 7:30 . Sat, July 26 at 6 . Sat, July 26 at 8
- Where: The National Theatre, Helen Hayes Gallery, 1231 Pennsylvania Ave, NW