After taking a few seasons off from performing as part of Rochester, New York’s spooky past, I was glad to play the part of a spiritual medium in a seance. The Spiritualist Movement was started in the Western New York area, and prominent psychics spent much of their time in nearby Lilydale (which is also a very interesting place to visit, by the way!)
Writer and historian Cindy Boyer started the Ghost Walk tradition 20 years ago, and creepy tales of true events in the area have thrilled audiences every Halloween season! This was my 5th time performing with other “ghosts” in telling these tales on the porches of landmark houses on Arnold Street in downtown Rochester. The tales are quite chilling (and often, so is the weather), but the fun of playing a ghost and telling a tale (sometimes 14 times in an evening) does warm the heart.
I always look forward to a phone call or an email from director Mary Krickmire in August. She selects her actors from a vast pool of Rochester’s talented, and we DO have a HUGE number of talented performers in the area!! There are over 40 community theatre companies in and around Rochester! I am thrilled and feel honored to be on the list of those called, and I’ve enjoyed being part of something “historical.”
This year, as I said, I got to play a spiritual medium…yet I was one of those who took advantage of the rise of the Spiritualist Movement. Like Whoopie Goldberg’s character in Ghost, I was an opportunist. My character not only duped those mourning the loss of loved ones, but she recruited young people into helping pull off the charade.
That’s not to say that I think Spiritualism in itself is a hoax. I do believe that there are those who can communicate with the other side… but I sure had fun playing up the charlatan role! I had to be asked to “tone it down” several times so as to attempt to make it seem more real to the audience before being revealed as a hoax.
I guess I was channeling too much Whoopie…but what fun! 🙂