This week in London the play Cosmic Trigger by Daisy Eris Campbell opens following the premiere in Liverpool last weekend. The play is an epic and truly heroic adaptation of Robert Anton Wilson’s life changing autobiographical book of the same name.
If his work’s unfamiliar to you, as it was to me a few months ago, I can warn you that your life may be about to change. I was introduced to the world of Cosmic Trigger and the genius of Robert Anton Wilson this summer at Port Elliot festival, through a talk by Daisy Campbell, the play’s director. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the description of Robert Anton Wilson’s first meeting with William Burroughs and the synchronistic mystery and magic of the number 23. Burroughs had met a Captain Clarke in the 60’s in Tangier, Clarke was a ferry boat captain, and had boasted of his 23 years at sea without a single accident. That very day his ship sank killing everyone on board. Burroughs, deeply impacted, was that same evening considering this unlikely coincidence whilst listening to the radio he heard a news bulletin announcing a fatal plane crash in Florida, the captains name was also Clarke and the flight was flight no 23.
This was no ordinary talk about a play about a book. Daisy Campbell seriously had my attention. Robert Anton Willsons life adventure followed a trail of synchronicity, magic, and a dive into the depths of the psyche. According to Wilson’s experiments in life belief systems (which he calls reality tunnels) “Belief in any dogma is the death of intelligence.'” His adventures drew him deep into the JFK assassination conspiracy, the fascinating work of Timothy Leary, who experimented with psychology and LSD to reprogramme his client’s psyches. His work has gone on to influence many giant creatives, Bill Drummond of the band KLF is an enigmatic example. Drummond designed the stage sets for the adaptation of Wilson’s first book The Illuminatus! Trilogy, directed by Daisy’s father, the infamous playwright Ken Campbell. Drummond went on to become a music legend and in an epic act of revolution against the corporate manipulations of the music industry he burnt the million pounds he’d earnt from his music. I’ve not mentioned the dog star Sirius, alien landings and chaos. Its all in the mix.
After this talk I was alive in a new way to my life. I bumped into Daisy the next day and in our short chat she spontaneously offered me a role in the play. I’ve never been on stage and the role was no light undertaking. I was to embody the Goddess Ishtar, the goddess of love, sexuality and war, and to open the show in Liverpool with a slow walk towards the gates of eternity shedding layers of clothes until naked, each layer symbolic of aspects of her identity and power. This symbolic strip was the pre-requisite for her descent into the underworld, and for me deeply representative of my own strip through identities and stories of myself. If we are to descend into the underworld of our existence, to really meet the programming of our cultural and social conditioning, we have to dive into our psyche and unravel our belief systems. In other words, we have some serious stripping to do. Too cosmic yet? “Inquire within,” as Aleister Crowley invites us in the play. This is the divine feminine embodied and alive in us all, men and women, the mystery and potency is endless.
This is not just a play or a book this is a lifting of the lid on all we thought we knew for certain. Once we prise this lid and journey within a little, all is not as it once seemed. Our current comfortable “reality tunnel” through which we have seen and experienced and interpreted our world can change. This can be a little unhinging to say the least, and can also present the most exciting of life opportunities. We get to pilot our own ship and shake off the old stories, we get to choose and check the reality tunnel we are filtering our version of reality through. Find your version of a seatbelt though if you’re to Captain this ship, this journey needs a strong anchor.
So the science of synchronicity, the no 23, is there anything in it? In my own short experience some fun has emerged. On the road trip to Liverpool I was trapped in a hell of traffic jam with my life travelling cohort, and best buddy Rebecca, it was seriously looking like we may not make the opening of the show. This was a reality I wasn’t up for accepting. I searched on the map to see where we could re-route to avoid the jam up, and realised we were stuck on page 23. We trusted ourselves to the magic and we did make the opening of the show with just half an hour to dress and run through. The embodiment of Ishtar took me to a strong and empowered place in myself, I had to dig in deep to an inner strength not to spin out and run a mile. Later that night we were again on the road, this time navigating to our Liverpool accommodation, the sat nav took us a little off track, we were programmed for no 17, we ended up in the driveway of no 23.
If you have or haven’t read the book I can recommend this cosmic warp of a play highly. I think it will change your life. I think it will wake you up. The revolution that is life is wanting to happen. This is a doorway. Cosmic trigger will take you on a captivating adventure crossing palms with Alan Moore, Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, Th LSD revolution, conspiracy, paranoia, reality warps…. and your own inner psyche. It’s also amazing fun.
“Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others” – Dr Timothy Leary
Premiered in Liverpool last weekend, Cosmic Trigger the Play by Daisy Eris Campbell is at the Lost Theatre, Battersea, London – 26th – 29th November.