In the Event That…You’re Open to Suggestions

By Annamarya Scaccia

Walking Fish Theatre Hypnosis Benefit

Sat., Feb. 23, 7 p.m., $20, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave., 215-427-WALK, walkingfishtheatre.com

It’s understandable to be wary of hypnosis. Someone controlling your every move with just a few soothing words? No, thanks — we’re not getting sleepy. But according to hypnotist Barb Gambrill, there’s no supernatural mind control involved. Still skeptical? Check out her stage routine at Walking Fish Theatre’s Hypnosis Benefit, the proceeds from which will go toward Fresh Fish, the nonprofit’s upcoming 10-minute play festival.

City Paper: What’s your craziest stage hypnosis story?

Barb Gambrill: I did a show out in Spearfish, S.D., and I picked this woman to be Dr. Ruth. People asked some crazy questions and the answers that came from her mouth were so incredible, it brought the house down. That really stands out in my mind because younger people are usually better subjects, but this lady proved me wrong. She really gave some good advice for an old gal.

CP: Are you ever sneaky with people onstage to have a little fun with them?

BG: Well, first let me say this: When people are onstage and they’re hypnotized, they would never do anything they wouldn’t ordinarily do. If I hypnotized the whole audience and told them to rob a bank and bring me back all the money, they wouldn’t do that unless they were bank robbers. It’s not that I do anything sneaky — I give them the suggestion. Some people take them and some don’t. They would never do anything against their will, even under the deepest form of hypnosis. If I controlled the people, I’d be a millionaire. [Laughs]

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