Ghost River pushes the limits of our beliefs
Artists relish the chance to create a ‘wedge in people’s skepticism’
The inquisitive artists at Ghost River Theatre want to remind audiences how Hamlet cautioned his friend “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” just before introducing him to his father’s ghost.
Keep that in mind when you head out to see Ghost River’s newest collective, The Intuition Project, which runs Sept. 12-15 at the Vertigo Studio Theatre and again Sept. 19-23 at the West Village Theatre.
“When it comes to the paranormal, we know there are believers and there are skeptics. We want to explore how strong those beliefs are.
“We welcome the idea we might create a wedge in people’s skepticism or in their beliefs,” says Eric Rose, Ghost River’s artistic director.
The Intuition Project is part of Ghost River’s Six Senses series, which has already explored the senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing.
This time, Ghost River is exploring the sixth sense that encompasses such concepts as deja vu, intuition, the paranormal, psychometric testing, mediums and the reading of a talisman.
In researching the show, the company members talked to a scientist from the University of British Columbia’s visual cognitive lab, a local medium and a psychologist from the University of Calgary as well as researching the Ouija board.
“The only time Monopoly as a board game was outsold, and that was by the Ouija board, was just after the Vietnam War with people trying to discover if their loved ones were alive or to contact those who had been killed,” says Rose, who adds that “just as fascinating as the Ouija board were the discussions with the psychologist about trust in relationships.
“The theory is the more we trust a person, the less likely we are to perceive if they are lying. This is very much an issue with infidelity and the idea that the person being cheated on cannot see all the signs and signals that seem obvious to friends and family.
“This also plays into the whole idea of fake news where there is the tendency to interpret information to confirm already held beliefs. Some people are far more susceptible to being influenced than others are.”
When the company introduced the Ouija board at its early workshops, Rose said some people said they would have to leave when it was used and others warned about its power.
Rose says with The Intuition Project, half the show is comprised of skits that demonstrate the theories they explored and half the show directly involves the audience.
“We do ESP testing with the audience and other testing we
explored. Through these tests we want people to weaken or strengthen the skepticism or beliefs they arrive with.
“We certainly freaked ourselves out creating this show. I hope we can do a bit of the same for our audiences.”
Rose says he purposely chose to run The Intuition Project at Vertigo Studio Theatre and then again at the West Village Theatre in conjunction with the Beakerhead 2018.
“We want to see where beliefs and skepticism are the strongest and these are potentially two very different audiences and our perception of them might prove to be entirely wrong.”
The final performance of The Intuition Project at West Village Theatre on Sept. 23 will be held at midnight to make it potentially even freakier for audiences.
Ghost River’s The Intuition Project stars Jason Patrick Rothery, left, Louise Casemore and Michael Tan.