Entertainer captivates with mind reading

Danielle Klais, Arts & Rec Editor

The Mentalist, Sean Bott, came to the University Center’s Down Under on Thursday, Feb. 6 to express his unique form of comedy in the form of “mentalism”.

While the practice of mentalism is thousands of years old, some people are unfamiliar with this particular kind of performance art. Mentalists are performers who seem to exhibit psychic-like abilities, including being able to predict the future and read minds.

“It was one of those things where I had to find a way to build something that made me happy, and this is what I arrived at,” said Bott.

The Down Under featured mentalist, Sean Bott, as he displayed his “mind reading” abilities, trick after trick.

The entire audience was involved in the final trick when Bott threw a sock monkey to an audience member and asked a question, the member answered, then threw the monkey to another person, and the cycle continued for a few minutes. To the audience’s bewilderment, all the answers to the questions the students had just answered, only a few minutes ago, were already written down in a zippered compartment in Bott’s wallet.

Bott began exploring the art of   entertaining when he was still in middle school. He started learning about hypnotism at 12-years-old, along with psychology, improv and the social dynamics of humans. He later earned a degree in communications in 2008. Now, Bott travels around the U.S. to entertain audiences and to keynote speak on empathy and connection skill sets.

“I feel like with mentalism, it’s like magic but amplified. It’s not just pick a card, any card. It’s like, pick a card, put it back in the stack, then throw it away, and I’ll still know which card you had. It’s so much more than just magic,” said Michael Garcia, a student and employee at the Down Under.

People who harness this skill usually have a background in psychology and a strong understanding of body language. In part, mentalism is being observant and noticing things most people have not been trained to.

“I think both the comedy and the mentalist act went really well together. He really worked with the audience and made us feel comfortable, and I thought it was really cool!” said Alex Koon, a UW-Whitewater student in the audience.

Before the show, Heat & Fire provided free popcorn for the first 50 students that arrived, which encouraged students to show up early and save their seats. There was also a game where audience members guessed how many Jolly Ranchers were in the jar in the back of the room before the show started and the answer was revealed after the show. This performer was a hit for those that attended.