Mentalist reads minds and brings laughs

Tyler Manning

As a part of Family Weekend, administration in the Office of Student Development hosted a performance by Sean Bott, the Mentalist, in Akin Auditorium on Sept. 30. The performance garnered about 375 people, including parents, children and students.

To clarify what a mentalist is, Bott said, “A mentalist is a cross-breed between a hypnotist and a magician. Instead of manipulating objects, I play with people.”

Throughout his performance, Bott left people in awe with his ability to predict audience members thoughts. He had a multiple groups of audience members, usually groups of four varying from young children to parents, come up on stage and he would perform a series of “mind-reading tricks.”

“I have been working as a mentalist full-time. I am coming up on my 10th year,” Bott said.

Like many others, his dream began at a young age.

“I have loved doing the work that I do, since the time I was 12. I started studying hypnosis at 12 years old and I was hypnotizing adults as a kid,” Bott said. “It was something that I was passionate about and I got from there into improv-comedy, which I have studied consistently for the past 24 years.”

It was through his love of hypnosis and improv-comedy where he got the idea to mix the two.

“All of those things together kind of have combined into a show that is just really strange, random and really fun. It is one of those things that I absolutely enjoy doing,” Bott said.

What really pushed him to pursue this career, like many in the entertainment industry, was being in a job he had no drive toward.

Bott said, “The thing that made me decide to do it was that I was stuck working a job that I despised and the options were to either build a way out of that job or be stuck in that job for years. So I decided to build a way out. It took me five years of working and it’s been awesome.”

Bott has also had experience outside performing as a mentalist, where he has been in multiple movies and television appearances.

“[In] ‘127 Hours’ I am fourth-credited. I have a whopping two lines in the movie. There are a fair amount of films that I have done and some TV appearances on different shows and channels, as well. What is nice about acting is that I do not need it so I succeed at it,” Bott said.

Participants too thought he was successful.

Alicia Harris, a parent pulled on stage by Bott, said, “I heard about it today, walking through the student center. I thought it was very interesting and unbelievable.”

Students who attended the event were also amazed by what they saw.

Addrian Gaut, theater senior, said, “I loved it and I am shook right now.”