On Jan. 24, The Evasons, a renowned Mentalist duo, performed at UTD. The Mercury sat down with Jeff and Tessa Evason and asked them about their experience in psychic entertainment and their journey so far.
When did you begin performing?
Jeff: In 1983, Tessa had moved from the Caribbean to Canada.
Tessa: Back to Canada. I used to live there when I was younger.
Jeff: She always had a background believing in intuition.
Tessa: Mostly intuition but you know, the culture.
Jeff: And I had a background doing a little bit of magic. So, we met. We took our two interests together. Fast forward another couple of years, we met a couple out of Boston. We became good friends. Look where we ended up.
Tessa: We were best friends. We were having a super time together.
Jeff: We met an older couple and they taught us over the years, before the internet, before even the fax machines. We had to write letters and make phone calls. They taught us a lot of their knowledge and that’s how we began.
Tessa: But I think if we weren’t the people that we were and with the abilities that we had, I don’t know if we would have had this success. When I say special, I don’t mean that other people aren’t special. You have to fit into a specific box for it to work for you.
How did you two meet?
Jeff: I was a radio announcer in Toronto and Tessa was working part-time as a model. I was hosting a fashion show and she was modeling. We had a mutual friend who was a fashion designer, and when she asked me if I would host the fashion show, because I worked at the radio station, and Tess was one of the models and that’s how we met.
Tessa: We just clicked, the moment we met. We started talking as though we had known each other all our lives.
What made you decide to go into psychic entertainment?
Tessa: I think part of it is some of things that you see onstage, I was doing off-stage and not on a daily basis, but I had a great interest in psychic phenomena and I certainly had this goal that I wanted to be able to prove these things to be true scientifically. And I’m hoping, in centuries to come, that will be the case. And I know there’s remarkable improvements on it. But, I just think people love to be mystified. It takes them away from their real world and allows them to be in this fantasy world for a while. It’s a great feeling.
What sort of training/learning did you have to go through to get to this stage?
Jeff: The first was called mnemonics. Mnemonics is memory. It’s association. You could associate an idea, something you could visualize, and you link it to something else that you already know.
We did this show, all about memory. It was just demonstrations, where people in the audience would be thinking of things, and maybe 50 people should remember their names and things that they would think of, that they would call out, and (Tessa) would give it back to them later in the show, but that was just a part. That was the first thing that we did.
Mnemonics is so great for so many things. It’s not only practical in life, especially for students. But it also develops a part of brain that you don’t use and you use less and less of it these days, because memory is on these (electronic) devices. But, there’s nothing that beats the brain. In psychology, they say that the last frontier is the human mind and the most amazing. We don’t understand the mind. All the doctors that think they can diagnose all these different things going on in your body, but the mind is still such a mystery. They’re only beginning to understand it. But at this point, we mask it with pharmaceuticals, but we don’t really know what’s going on.
So, mnemonics for us was a starting point. People wouldn’t normally use it for our purposes, but we did. And then we met this couple. The two things that we had already learned and what they taught us were very similar. Theirs were secrets, which we already knew as practical knowledge.
Jeff: As I said, she always had an interest in the metaphysical, the mystical side of things – whether it was tarot or astrology, that was her interest. My interest was similar, but yet, using tricks. But, the mnemonics seemed to bring it together as a starting point, to turn something that was a trick, but yet, it was real.
What are some of your favorite acts/tricks to perform?
Tessa: My favorite one is the one that we almost didn’t do tonight – the squares with the numbers. I love doing things that demonstrate the power of the mind. And then, of course, when I’m doing the set with the blindfold. I love when somebody holds up an item that connects them with family or a loved one. And the energy that’s there, the way we connect, is really wonderful and powerful.
Jeff: I like the stuff with the blindfolds, the things she does with the audience … for me that’s the highlight.
If you weren’t mentalists, what other profession would you have possibly pursued?
Tessa: I was supposed to be a doctor. But Jeff came in my life and I just went up this other direction because I always loved entertainment. I did some of it as a child and I really felt that that’s where I wanted to be on the stage. I thought that that would be the place I could give the most love, the most healing by anything I said or did. So when he came along and I started doing that, I found my parents weren’t very happy. But they realized, after a short space of time, that I was actually going to be very successful. It’s what all parents want, isn’t it?
So how was your experience here at UTD today?
Jeff: Great! What a great crowd! Such wonderful students. We didn’t think that many people waited for an hour. Our flight was over an hour delayed, we went to a different airport. It’s been a heck of a day because we literally went from the airport to here and set up and got here as quickly as we could. It’s been a tough travel day, but great audience.
Tessa: I think it started when I called to say the change we had in our flight. I spoke with SUAAB advisor Jonathan “GNO” White and everybody was just so calm. And I thought great! It gave us that sort of foundation of, “Don’t worry about anything, just get here and get here safely.” That was what was drawing us here. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed so wonderfully. And as Jeff said, with that audience, wow! Could not have asked for more.