By now we should have a stage full of hand-locked subjects, say 30. Now we want to whittle them down to a manageable level, 12 is a good maximum although don't worry if you have less than this.
Get them to drop their hands in front of their chests with their elbows bent and keep telling them that their hands are locking together tighter. Now be observant and pick your final subjects carefully as the whole show depends on them. There are obvious 'types' that you really don't need; the things to look for are the effects of:
Drink, Drugs and Fear.
Drunks can pass out or vomit. Drug takers can pass out or vomit. Terrified people can pass out, vomit, burst into tears and spontaneously lose control of their bladder or bowels. If you are not sure get rid of them!
Here are a few obvious things to look for. Smell of alcohol, if you can smell it chances are they have had enough or perhaps too much. Distended pupils and unexpected shaking. You can expect the arms to be shaking, you've even suggested they will, but if they appear to be shaking all over this could be caused by fear or by certain drugs. Distended or enlarged pupils especially under bright stage lighting could point to drugs or other physical conditions that you don't want to have to deal with on stage.
The volunteers I'd go for are those who have a look of happy bafflement about them. They are usually smiling and are looking at their hands and you in a bemused way. Once you've seen this 'look' up close, you will instantly recognise it. Trust your instincts.
So now you need to find the best subjects. That is those who will readily accept your suggestions and as far as possible make your stage and your show look good. The test for suggestibility is simple. Walk up to a likely subject, being as friendly as possible, smile and say hello nicely, grab their locked hands and while always suggesting they are locking tighter and tighter, try and push your middle finger between their palms. If it goes right through and past them with little or no resistance, you've got a faker or someone not really 'into' it. Simply shake their hands apart and tell them you're sorry but they are not in the right mood and would they please return to their seat. Notice, I say tell them. Don't ask in this situation, you have to have complete control of the stage; it belongs to you. For this reason I would always do this over the microphone so that the audience knows they are not suitable. They won't dare stay to cause you trouble as they would then look foolish, not you.
If there doesn't appear to be any effects of the three things I mentioned earlier, and it's virtually impossible to push your finger between their palms, you can use them. If however you can't easily try their hands with your finger look for pure white knuckles and the forearm 'shakes'. They will be easy to work with and will accept suggestions readily and easily. Simply separate the hands of everyone else and tell them they can go back to their seats and enjoy the show.
As far as gender goes I would suggest that you go for a fifty-fifty mix if possible and, depending on the routines you do, the same for ages. Most times leaning towards younger volunteers, as they tend to be more visual in their interpretation of your suggestions. However there is a lot of mileage in overweight middle-aged men so don't discount them. Obviously you would not get a very senior person to become a ballet dancer; a broken hip can reduce your reputation somewhat, but if you only have older subjects, change the show as you go along. Remember what I said about being flexible.
Now we come to the part that the audience has really paid to see and your friends on stage have really come to do. We are going to induce hypnosis.
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