The Cosmic Trigger Play by Daisy Eris Campbell – Hail Eris!

cosmic trigger play poster
| Reviews > Arts & Culture

Daisy Eris Campbell’s play Cosmic Trigger is a discordian celebration of human consciousness, what lies beyond conspiracy theories and so much more. Enter Chapel Perilous!

Okay. The Cosmic Trigger Play. What do you need to know?

Firstly, it’s a play. Secondly, the excellent ‘About‘ page of the Cosmic Trigger Play website is as good a starting point as any:

Cosmic Trigger features:

  • The writing (and living) of Illuminatus!, the cult novel which launched a million conspiracy-freaks
  • Stumbling, via LSD and Aleister Crowley, onto a 6500-year-old conversation with the planet Sirius
  • Dreaming up the formula, with Timothy Leary, of positive human evolution
  • Co-conspiring to create the Discordian religion, which worships Eris, the Goddess of Chaos and Confusion
  • Tantric sex, musical sing-alongs and mass initiations
  • Bob’s fellow Discordian being accused of being “the second Oswald” in JFK’s assassination
  • Mind-blowing visual effects, extraordinary musical soundscapes, and proper “Ken Campbell style” acting
  • The journey through Chapel Perilous, a dangerous occultist crossing point, from which one either emerges paranoid or agnostic.

Buy Cosmic Trigger tickets and find out more.

Still here? Good. Read on, and you’ll discover more about the play’s creatrix Daisy Eris Campbell and why she wrote it.

The Cosmic Trigger Play is based on the life of Robert Anton Wilson

Turn on, tune in, find the others.

Who was Robert Anton Wilson (RAW)? The play is based on his life, so it helps to know. He was a quantum philosopher who produced countless works of fiction and non-fiction designed to change our thought processes as we read. He’s most famous for co-writing the Illuminatus! trilogy with Robert Shea. Wait – surely not the Illuminati? You know, the shadowy cult which secretly pulls the strings on the world? Yes, the very same…

But…

RAW was no conspiracy theorist. He was far more interested in putting on a diving helmet to do some deep-down exploration of perception. He figured human cosnciousness might be in better shape if we break down the binary of “us” and “them” and see what’s really going on.

Arguably, RAW’s work could be summed up thus: “Study your perception. Recognise your filters. Think for yourself.”

It may also be useful to know that RAW coined the word sombunall. “Some but not all”. An eternal optimist, he knew words had power. Every time we say “All fnords are…” it is likely to be untrue because it’s stating our opinion about fnords, or anything else, as fact.

RAW used sombunall so that – even when he was really pissed off – anyone he was talking to would recognise he knew he was stating an opinion shaped by his perceptions, not a cold hard fact. Or at least he was trying to be as accurate as possible, in order to create room for change instead of ‘fight or flight’ gut reactions.

RAW believed words are an extention of thought, but they loop around each other and shape each other. When we explore our words, we also shape our thoughts. The art of communication helps us get as close to honesty as we humans can get, although honesty is subjective with all those social filters constantly shaping our perceptions.

USEFUL TO KNOW: Fans of RAW’s work tend to keep an eye out for coincidence and synchronicity in their lives, and also the number 23. But not just the number 23. If you spot the number 23 in an artwork, there is a very good chance the artist is reaching out to find the others.

In every aspect of life, it’s sombunalways in our favour to pay attention.

A bit about Discordia, the religion you know you can’t trust

RAW’s Cosmic Trigger trilogy helped to popularise the meta-religion of Discordia. Its followers aren’t big on central authority figures. They do, however, worship Eris, the Greek goddess of strife, chaos and discord – in many ways the perfect goddess for the 21st century.

Hail eris discordia

Hail Eris! Hail Discordia! If you wish it, here’s how to become a Discordian Pope.

Chaos isn’t always “bad”.  It can be a fertile breeding ground for positive change. Hesiod has this to say about Eris:

“So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honour due.”

You can guess which one the Discordians pay their respects to. The one who isn’t cruel, but takes time to get to understand.

DID YOU KNOW? Discordians place an emphasis on catma, not dogma. They spurn absolute beliefs, or dogma, because our perceptions of what is “true” can really shift things around.

The central discordian catma is this:

“All affirmations are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.”

Yes, it takes longer to say than most strongly-held opinions, but politicians might benefit from a little discordia in their lives.

Who is Daisy Eris Campbell and why did she produce this play?

Enter Daisy Eris Campbell, stage left. Now we’re really getting somewhere!

Quantum thought, synchronicity and modern mysticism run deep in Campbell’s veins. Her father, maverick theatre legend Ken Campbell, declared Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! the “greatest book ever written” and promptly turned it into a nine-hours-long staged epic. Daisy was actually conceived backstage, and her mother, Prunella Gee, was playing the role of Eris in the production at that time. Daisy Campbell’s middle name is a tribute to the discordian blood running through her parents’ veins.

No child is ever an addendum to their parents’ story. Daisy Campbell has been on her own journey of theatre and quantum philosophy, and she’s been on it hard. While her friends were doing their A-levels, Daisy Campbell was already helping her father to stage productions. She also staged The Warp in 1997, currently cited as the world’s longest play.

In 2014 she directed her own stage adaptation of a RAW trilogy: Cosmic Trigger. Now it’s 2017, and the play – with its cast of 23 actors – is being performed once more, at The Cockpit in London. It’s ambitious, it’s exciting and as an added treat many of the original cast will be returning with comics wizard Alan Moore appearing via audio and video projections.

cosmic trigger play daisy campbell

Cosmic Trigger Play: Daisy Campbell plays her own mother playing Eris

cosmic trigger play eris jimmy cauty riot shield

Eris, wielding a riot shield made by Jimmy Cauty of the KLF and the Orb

cosmic trigger play bob and arlen

Robert Anton Wilson and Arlen

cosmic trigger play robert anton wilson

Robert Anton Wilson

In an interview with Super Weird Substance, Daisy Campbell explains how she wanted to tell a more lucid story than her father’s intentionally loose and looping adaptation.

“For me, Cosmic Trigger… [is] incredibly lucid. It’s explaining the whole birth of Operation Mindfuck, of Discordianism but also very personally of Wilson’s experiments with Aleister Crowley, rituals, acid, tantra and yoga. A whole – more intimate quest – kind of story.”

We’ll leave the final word to Daisy Campbell: “Reading Cosmic Trigger changed my life and the lives of many others – and the book is dedicated to my dad! Wilson’s uniquely optimistic and radically agnostic philosophy is incredibly relevant in these crazy times. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with The Cockpit on this production. They are the perfect co-conspirators to help us bring the wit and wisdom of Robert Anton Wilson back to life.”

Visit the Cosmic Trigger Play website to buy tickets and see a play like  no other.

Don’t worry if tickets are sold out – you can still browse the site to find more events, collaborations and ways to find the others.

cosmic trigger poster

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