One only needs to read the official press release for Simon Taylor’s Pieces of Mind to be hooked. Promoted as being a 60 minute performance that will teach you to trick yourself into feeling happier, educate you in how to spot your lies and allow you the ability to read your thoughts, Simon Taylor fails to disappoint.
A qualified psychology student turned entertainer, Simon Taylor’s delivery of his performance is one that can be regarded as unique and thus, potentially the key to his success as an entertainer. If I was to pull a statistic from my mind at random, I would say 80% of Pieces of Mind is reliant upon audience participation: not an easy feat to master, any performer will be able to assure you. Simon Taylor however achieves this with ease, for there is something about him that woos you into a state where you are left feeling more than willing to get up on stage, divulge your name and profession and consequently become a part of his mind games. Perhaps it is his amalgamation of facets of contemporary culture and deliberate, cheesy wit with little tit-bits of concepts of reality that only a psychology student is privy to, that can be attributed to this.
As I look down at my notepad, one thing that is scribbled down and underlined heavily is a note that reads; Simon Taylor’s talent and knowledge will leave you trusting all that he says and does within the 60 minutes he has allowed himself. He brings to light by way of a bevy of mind games and demonstrations that to an un-trained eye appear to be magic tricks, the notion that the reality we create for ourselves is a direct result of the pieces of the puzzle of life that we collect on a daily basis: for if we are 40% compatible with a fruit fly and 98% compatible with a gorilla, why is it that we as humans are all so seemingly different? Simon Taylor seeks to prove that we are capable of much more than we allow ourselves to be; that everything we do, say, think, feel and conceptualise is a direct state of our mind and how we interpret our own thoughts and the ‘reality’ we create for ourselves by way of categorisation, supposed generational traits that form social gaps and stereotyping.
As aforementioned, the majority of Pieces of Mind is comprised of audience participation, whether you are called up on stage or asked to contribute from where you are sitting. It is this technique that somehow forces you to subliminally drop your “I’m out in public and know no-one in the room” guard and inadvertently bond with everyone around you. Feeding on this, Simon Taylor will at times sit on the front step of the stage, as if a member of his audience, to embark on more serious discussions that force us to question how and why we think the way we do. In so doing, you are left to feel that at no point you are an audience member ogling a performer, but instead, a part of a discussion amongst peers. To affirm this, expect Simon to take the time to approach you after the show and have a one-on-one social chat; if only to ask if you enjoyed the show or ask more about you, once he walks away you are left wondering why it is you feel so comfortable talking to him, a man you haven’t actually met… until now.
Don’t be fooled however, this is not a performance for people who find themselves unhappy and or tangled within a web of lies; it is perhaps more for those that are confident they know everything about themselves and others, are happy with how things plod along from day and are convinced they’ve got a strong grasp on reality. If this is you, Pieces of Mind will indeed prove to be a humorous and edifying 60 mins of your life that will see you leave with a smile on your face and a veritable feast of questions plaguing your mind: How? Why? What!? Did he just do that? Amazing! …wait, how..? Perhaps the whole experience was a mind game, who knows. One thing I do know, is that Pieces of Mind is not something you go to see, it is something you go to be a part of: thus it was a joy to be a part of and has been a joy to write about. Simon Taylor, Pieces of Mind… do it!
Pieces of Mind
By Taryn Pollock | ArtsHub | Thursday, November 11, 2010
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