A Rose with Starry Eyes

{April 21, 2010}   hypnosis in acting

Blurbs about the potential use of hypnosis in acting.

VERY important link!



My personal ideas:

  • Get hypnotized right before the performance to get into character. Here’s an excerpt from a random forum post about high-schoolers, not even trained actors, and how convincing they were even in front of a crowd once convinced by hypnosis they were in a certain situation:
  • …when i was in high school, we had a hypnotist come to our school. he hypnotized a bunch of students and made them believe they had been in a car accident because the driver was drunk. he told one of them that her best friend was dead in her arms or he told another kid that as soon as the “car” crashed, he would no longer feel his legs. it was pretty horrifying hearing them scream and cry.
  • I would either need to find someone who could do hypnosis that I trusted (and obviously would be present during/before the time of the actual performance) or learn to do incredibly dependable self-hypnosis.
  • I have read (although I cannot find the place now) that people may show abilities they did not have before, or did not know that they had.abilities such as beautiful singing are possible while under hypnosis, since technically everyone has the same basic physical ability to sing only different experiences and levels of training. Perhaps hypnosis to instill positive performance habits or to make the hypnotized believe that they are a specific, existing singer with a beautiful voice.




Our readers are probably familiar with the role of hypnosis in mediumship as well as its use by channelers. Hypnotic procedures have proven useful also in uncovering hidden multiple personalities. Now hypnosis has found another, perhaps related, use: enabling actors to transform themselves into the characters they are impersonating.

A university drama instructor has reported the results of his research exploring the use of hypnosis to inten­sify “method acting.” Using a quite specific procedure, he has helped actors express nuances of character that are outside their usual range of skills, enabling them to leave self behind and to “become” their characters. The procedure involves hypnotic intensification of recognized acting methods first articulated by Constantin Stanislavsky and refined by his student Michael Chekhov (nephew of the playwright).

  1. While under hypnosis, the actor first learns to visualize him- or herself as an object of contemplation, as if seen in a mirror, through a camera, or from an X-ray machine.
  2. The actor then learns to discover “centers” of energy within his or her being, centers that animate the person’s actions. (The description thus far may sound like learning to go out of body and turn and witness one’s aura and psychic centers.)
  3. The third step involves learning to visualize in great detail the character in the script, to locate the character’s internal cen­ters that animate the behaviors.
  4. The fourth step requires the actor to begin to imitate the character’s behaviors by moving the character’s centers to within the actor’s own being.
  5. The next step is for the actor to learn to tell the difference between his or her own centers and those of the character. Making this discrimination allows the actor to pro­ceed to the next step: to set aside one’s own energy centers, making a clean break that allows space for introjecting or “inhaling” the character’s energy centers.
  6. This ritual, highly focused through hypnosis, leads to the final stage: the complete and manifest transformation into the character.

Each of these steps required practice to perfect. Once perfected, the actor could readily enter a self-hypnotic trance and become the character. After the performance, the actor reversed the process to return to normal functioning.

In the reported study, actors who used hypnosis and those who did not appeared in character before the judges, who were drama teachers familiar with each actor’s typical range of expression, but who did not know the actors’ con­dition while performing. Judges gave consistently better ratings and higher transformation scores to those who used hypnotic enhancement techniques. The judges also noted that those actors showed personality attributes not previously in evidence, thus demonstrating extraordinary growth in the actor’s range of expression.

Source: “Hypnotic transformation: Three studies of theatrical role playing.” The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 1988, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 249-255.

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