The hypnotist show is a staple of the Gustavus experience. Every year, hypnotist Chris Jones performs his fun and interactive show with the Gustavus student body– specifically, the first-years during orientation weekend. The show is full of comedy and intrigue as the magic of Jones plays out in the short hour or two that he performs.
This year on Friday, Sep. 16, the show returned– albeit a little differently. While retaining the integrity of the show, it was changed to fit the guidelines of COVID-19 prevention in the Lund Center Forum.
Jones’s show is an interactive and fun experience for the audience. His performance is exciting and mystical because it centers around the people he hypnotizes. He makes the hypnotized people do whacky and funny things, such as “reading” the mind of an audience member. Along with his playfulness, Jones is a master at getting the audience to participate.
This year, the hypnotist show hit its capacity at about 150 people and roughly 50 people were turned away because there was no more space.
To adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, masks were mandatory and the limited audience members had to maintain social distancing of six feet. Chairs on the wood flooring were marked with big Xs six feet apart. The bleachers were down, but two rows were left empty between each occupied row. All audience members had to sit six feet apart unless they were roommates.
Junior Campus Activity Board (CAB) Concert Executive Luke Yang– also a photographer with The Gustavian Weekly– was at the event and discussed the social distancing efforts CAB put in for the show to operate smoothly.
“The team definitely went in earlier and there were six-foot ribbons that were just cut out,…that’s the tool that we used to just mark out the Xs,…We only had half capacity, only one bleacher was down and every other row was pretty much empty all the way to the top,” Yang said.
“The cool thing about [Jones] is that we have him [on campus] so often that you know he loves coming back here, too.”
In terms of the show itself, Jones switched it up to incorporate proper social distancing. The show, which is known to be crowd interactive with a lot of touching, maintained social distancing by having the masked hypnotized people only stand close to audience members when asked, with no touching occurring.
Senior Gustie Greeter Isabel St. Dennis went to the event and discussed how the show was changed in the times of COVID-19.
“[Crowd interaction] was present… they still did the classic ‘go up to someone and read their minds,’ but instead of putting their hand on their head it kind of was like stand near them and feel their energy,… but there definitely was interaction between the people being hypnotized and the audience,” St. Dennis said.
“I feel like it is such a staple to orientation weekend… [I] think it would be fun if he was maybe brought back outside of orientation weekend, so all of us upperclassmen can go back.”
-Isabel St. Dennis
The relationship between Gustavus Adolphus College and Jones has a decidedly positive history. Jones has visited the campus several times in the past. This time, even with the risk of COVID-19, Jones agreed to do the show.
“His wife is pregnant right now, so even having him back here during the pandemic… I think that’s cool and it’s a good testament to our relationship with [Jones].” Yang said.