Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Mentalists perform at UMass

An interactive mentalism performance
Irina Costache / Daily Collegian
Irina Costache / Daily Collegian

Thursday, Dec. 2, mentalist couple Antonina La and David Hall performed an interactive mind-reading show in the ballroom of University of Massachusetts Student Union.

“Mentalism is like magic, but it’s for your mind. So, what your eyes see up here tonight may not be real. But what your mind feels and experiences will be,” Hall said at the start of the show.

Mentalism is a performing act, often classified as a subcategory of magic, in which performers exhibit extraordinary mental abilities. The Mentalists’ show included acts of mind-reading, telepathy and some form of mind-control—which Hall referred to in one of the acts as “neuro-linguistic programming.”

In one act of mind-reading, La exactly identified the birth date of a volunteer audience member. They chose James Mayer, a freshman electrical engineer student, who was asked to look at his license and picture his birth date. At that moment, La was standing on stage while the volunteer in the audience. Within a few seconds, La revealed his birth date.

“That was crazy. I thought it [the show] was planned. But I wasn’t planned,” Mayer said.

In addition to mind-reading, the show was filled with incredible coincidences. In the beginning of the show, for example, Hall devised a number with the help of two volunteers. The number consisted of the multiplication of three three-digit numbers: one from Hall and two from the volunteers.

At that point, the number didn’t mean much. But throughout the show the number started coming up multiple times. In one instance, the number matched the serial number on a one-dollar bill that a volunteer offered as part of another act.

La and Hall’s highly interactive show relied on the voluntary participation of the audience. Fortunately, the audience seemed engaged in the performance and a significant number were eagerly willing to volunteer for the acts. “It was great to see everybody raise hands and come up on stage and be excited. We’re very happy,” La said.

The event, coordinated by the University Programming Council (UPC), witnessed a high student turnout. “This was a great turnout. They [UPC] did a great job with marketing,” Hall said. He added that “colleges are one of our favorite venues to perform for just because how the students respond.”

From UPC, Prisha Mark, a freshman marketing and communication major, said “we’ve worked with them [Antonina and David] before and they’re great. And we usually get a really good turnout and everyone loves them on campus.”

Based out of Boston, Antonina and David have performed both across the country and internationally. According to their website, what makes their shows unique is “that they not only entertain you, but also make you a part of the mind-blowing experience that is mentalism.”

On top of their mentalism expertise, the couple also have training in improvisational, sketch and comedy theater. Hall is also trained in hypnosis from Las Vegas and performs a comedic hypnosis show called “Cards Against Hypnosis.”

The couple come from different parts of the world, creating for multicultural shows. Hall is from a small town in southern Vermont. La is from the Ural region of Russia. They have been performing together for seven years now, David said.

Mustafa Almutawa can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @safiookarim.

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