Theater of Hypnosis and Hypnosis of Theater
Ringmar discussed the question of suggestibility. It has long been observed that people, especially when they find themselves the members of crowds, are easily manipulated. This power over people’s minds has sometimes been compared to the power of hypnosis.
This is more than a metaphor, Ringmar suggested. As researchers working on hypnosis have suggested, hypnosis works by focusing and diverting people’s attention and by separating conscious and unconscious mental processes. This in turn raises more general issues of the nature of attention and the connection between attention and consciousness.
Ringmar argued that suggestibility of a kind is operating in the theater too, both as actors enter into their roles and as audience members suspend their disbelief.