FYIG recently had the chance to chat with mentalist Bobby Motta about to find out more about mentalism, his stage show Cryptic, and much more. Read on to learn more!
Tell us a little bit about mentalism.
Mentalism is an art form under the umbrella of magic that uses psychology, suggestion and influence combined with showmanship, misdirection, and magic to create wonder and mystery. Essentially it’s magic for the mind. My quick answer to this question has always been, Mentalism is creating the illusion of mind reading.
How did you become a mentalist?
I started off at a young age performing magic at clubs, bars, and restaurants. After reading many books and being mentored by some pros in the industry that I look up, so I started to play with the different arenas in this art form. I dabbled in big stage illusions, comedy magic, street magic and the odd routines had one or two mentalism pieces. Hearing from the pros who always told me to listen to my audience, I soon learned that my interpersonal skills and ability to connect with my audience were my strengths. Mentalism is all about that so I made a decision 10 years into my professional career to switch the gears into a full-time mentalist.
Describe some of the similarities and differences between being a mentalist and a magician.
Similarities are a that a storyline is presented, an action is introduced either interactively or as a solo display, different means of misdirection, movements, slights, and patter are used followed by a prestige which is the finale. The difference is that magic is known primarily for its visual presentation, and though mentalism can be visual as well, it usually takes place in the spectator’s mind.
What is the biggest misconception about mentalism?
Many people confuse a psychic/palm reader/medium with a psychic entertainer/mentalist. A psychic claims what they do is real, a mentalist leaves it for the spectator to decide. Another misconception is that a mentalist is a hypnotist or has direct contact with the dead. I get people asking me all the time if I’m going to make them bark like a dog or have a chat with their dead grandmother. And the answer to that is, no.
What would you say to some of the skeptics out there? Be as skeptical as you want. It’s not about questioning whether this is real or not. It’s about letting your guards down and being taken for the ride of your life. It’s entertainment.
What can audiences expect when they see your new show Cryptic (which runs twice nightly on Friday and Saturday at Dave and Buster’s in Vaughan, ON)?
Cryptic is a show designed to reel you into a bubble of mystery, keep you engaged and allow you to be a part of something that defies reality. This show, along with all my shows, focuses on the connection between humans and although some scenarios are totally random, they always have a questionable cryptic ending.
Where do you draw inspiration for your shows from?
I draw inspiration from everything I’ve learned from my peers, books and the energy around me. The most significant inspiration though is from my interactions with people that attend my show. I learn a lot from them as human behaviour is fascinating and more powerful than we understand, which I often highlight in my show.
You’ve also helped out some consulting teams for other notable people in this field like Criss Angel. What’s it like to lend your expertise to these other shows and is that something you enjoy?
As a creator/entertainer, it’s hard to conceptualize something amazing and then have to give it away. I’ve been told that I fall into a rare breed that creates original effects and also performs them. Usually, there are creators and performers and these are unique specialties that are kept separate. But to answer your question, it is quite humbling to have the biggest names in the industry call upon me to consult and I do enjoy being challenged to think outside of the box.
What advice would you have for someone who’d want to become a mentalist?
Mentalism is a performance art. It requires the study of acting, theatre, scripting, audience management, voice inflection, body movement and most importantly, hours and hours of stage time, to become entertaining. My first piece of advice is to find out what your ego is and make sure it doesn’t interfere. Treat your audience well, be entertaining and remember if you’re doing it to get a reaction, that’s your ego.
What goals do you have left to accomplish in your career?
This is not a question to which I have an answer because my goals continue to evolve. Currently, I am working on a larger scale theatre production with a crew of highly respected industry professionals. This will be my biggest theatre production to date and I am very excited. Recently I have been featured on many television programs and talk shows which I’m having a lot of fun with so I will continue to explore that area and see where it takes me. New ideas and opportunities are always presenting themselves to me so I try not to plan too far ahead. I’m not too focused on the destination of my career but more so the journey.
Tell the readers where they can find you online.