Tonight is the night that "The Mental Institution" performs here in the park. One of our Activities Staff found this online and I called a few places where he performed and heard good things and the price was just right so I booked him.
We started advertising weeks ago in a roundabout way. We put signs up indicating something special was coming to Quail Run and we had a countdown of days on our in park TV channel. It was quite the buzz for awhile.
I went up to the Carnaval Room around six to see if he had arrived as yet and when I when I entered the room this fella yells, STOP! I did, in my tracks! He put his hand to his forehead and says, "I'm getting something, a vision, it's coming." Then he looks at me and points and says, "Snookie!" Yeah, it was our "mentalist" welcoming me into the room. I got a good laugh out of that.
At six thirty the winter residents started coming in to get seats. We had designated all the white colored chairs to be off limits during the performance for those who wanted no parts of being "in" the show.
There was a little technical difficulty at the beginning with our CD player but we got past that quickly.
I had read the web site for this act but really had no idea what to expect as far as a specifics were concerned.
I talked with his wife as he set up the stage with his props.
While he was finishing up he asked me if I would draw a picture on a white piece of paper taped to a square, black plastic (I think) board. I took a seat in the back of the room so that he couldn't see what I was drawing while he was on stage. I can't draw! I couldn't think of a thing to make a drawing of. I was wondering that if I did think of something to draw could I possibly make the picture on the paper resemble anything even near to the picture in my mind. Between you and me, I had HUGE doubts! I looked around the room for something to draw and I just didn't think I could pull off a drawing of a piano, or a rack of chairs or even a single chair for that matter! He was almost done on stage so just to have something on the paper I drew two stick people. Now doesn't that just inspire the heck out of you? Yep, two stick people, the extent of my artistic talent. Now to my credit, they were good stick people! I even named them and drew them holding hands! I named the taller one Bob and the smaller one Snookie. Again, the originality of it all is beyond belief!
I told him I was done and he had me hold it up with the picture facing me. He then took a dish towel and lowered the towel between me and the plastic board. He draped it over the board and then I could hold it flat in my hands. He took another square plastic board and laid it on top of the towel. While I was holding it securely he took large rubber bands and secured the two boards corner to corner. The picture I drew was never out of my possession and at no time could he see the stick figure portrait. I had to run home at one point when I realized that my camera battery was back in the rig in the charger. The drawing went with me.
The room filled quickly and it was time for the show to get underway. I had Janet C. sitting next to me, with much trepidation. She just didn't know what to expect and because I kinda, sorta, insisted she sit next to me, well, she was leery to say the least. Well, wouldn't you know it, she got picked to go up on stage. I swear I had nothing to do with it! Well, ok, maybe a little bit. Maybe I did nod towards her when he was looking for a
victim participant. Ok, Ok, maybe I did in fact have my hand behind her pointing to her in a definite Pick Her, Pick Her, manner. She was invited up on the stage and asked to pick one of the chairs pictured below to sit in and it had to be one with an envelope in it. That certainly narrowed it down.
So she picks which seat she wants to sit in....
The "Great Massimo" then picks up the envelope from the seat of the chair she didn't choose and takes out a piece of paper and asked Janet to read it the audience. She read, "I knew you wouldn't pick this chair." Of course, she was then asked to read the note in the envelope from the chair she did pick. You guessed it, it said, "I knew you would pick this chair".
He did several "mental readings" involving playing cards, some I figured out how he did it and some I didn't.
He had Dona, an Activities staff member, involved with a, I don't know if I'm supposed to call them "tricks" or not, but for the lack of a better term its the one I'm going to use.
Dona had to take the three die and toss them and write down the number showing on top when they stopped rolling across the floor. He was busy doing something on stage while she was doing this. Getting a white board to write on and looking for a marker is what I think he was doing. So he looks at the floor and tells her to take the two closest to her and write down the number that is on the opposite side of the number showing. DUH! Like we're not figuring this one out! She does it and she now has five numbers on her white board. He tells her to add them. She did. At the same time he writes a number on his board. I'll be darn, they both have the same number!
He did several more tricks and kidded with us along the way.
He then brought out a bag of marbles, one black and five white. He asked six audience members to reach in and take one out but to hide it from him and their neighbors. He then went to each one who had the marble clenched in their fist and made a show of ...well here, you can see for yourself. He's feeling Kim's aura here.
Now I really don't know how he did this and I probably missed something along the way but then again maybe not because he did get some really good applause on this one. He picked out of the six the one who had the black marble.
Next it was my turn. He called me up on stage and explained to the audience that I had drawn a picture earlier in the evening and that he had no opportunity to see it and I confirmed everything he said as true. And it was!
He told me to "put it on my head". So I did. I held it directly, flatly, on my head. He looked at me and said, "It's not raining!" Oh, he didn't mean that way, he meant to put it against my forehead so that I could concentrate on it better. Ok, gotcha. I did what he wanted. As I stood there and concentrated on my stick figure drawing he was busy drawing on his own paper. He then helped me to take the rubber bands off, lift the plastic board, take the dish towel off and I held the picture up for the audience to see. Soon after he held his drawing up. Stick people! Two of them. I have no idea how he did this. I am absolutely, positive that he did NOT see my drawing.
He ended the hour long show with his trademark trick. Breaking a lightbulb with his mind.
He was concentrating very hard and was standing in a really cool pose so I asked him to hold that stance until I got a picture. I interrupted his thought process I guess because he had to start over.
I then asked him to let me know just before it was going to break so I could snap a picture. He said he couldn't do that. Needless to say I didn't get it breaking, I was a second too late in snapping but I got one of of the broken light bulb. Nope, don't ask me, I don't have a clue.
Was the show worth all the hype? Probably not, at times it was pretty hokey. Was it night out, away from TV reruns? Sure was! Did we all get a few laughs? You bet.
I heard about some complaints but then doesn't every crowd have those who just have to complain about everything and anything?