Ghost River pushes the lim­its of our be­liefs

Artists rel­ish the chance to cre­ate a ‘wedge in peo­ple’s skep­ti­cism’

Calgary Herald - - YOU - LOUIS B. HOBSON

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.

ERIC ROSE

Ghost River’s The In­tu­ition Project stars Ja­son Pa­trick Roth­ery, left, Louise Case­more and Michael Tan.

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