The area of the paranormal has fascinated and enthralled people through the ages.

From the days of the 50s, with the TV show Topper, to the 60s with The Twilight Zone and to the 2000s with the show In Between, it has become firmly in the popular American imagination.

Whether one is a true believer or a skeptic, The Thin Place, a play being staged at the Zach Theatre till Nov. 26, will hold you spellbound by the twists and turns it takes. I won’t spoil the fun by giving away and plot surprises, but it does revolve around a medium, Linda, played by Elise Ogden (pictured above). She began performing more than 40 years ago, and has appeared on many TV shows including Golden Girls and Phenom.  

Her acting chops are on full display here in a bravura performance. Her acting is spot on, enhancing the credibility of her role. She is so convincing one wonders if she is actually summoning spirits, and her direct interaction with some members of the audience make it even more powerful. The timing of the play is also appropriate, as it began just before Halloween, which is the time when the thin place between the living and the dead can be crossed.  Linda is quite direct about what she does: “It’s not all that different from psycho-therapy, but what I do works!”

“Hilda in our play hears things,” writes the director Richard Robichaux. “Things she can’t explain. She says ‘You just have to listen. No, really listen,’ and you, too, will hear the voices. Isn’t it true that when we finally stop the hustling and bustling, the voices begin to speak up? And once we quiet the noise a bit, we actually start to hear things. That kind of scares us. Maybe that’s why we’ve made our world so loud. It helps drown out all those ‘ghostly doings.’”

Not everyone in the play is on board with all this. Linda trounces a rather clueless character, Sylvia: “I’m surprised by your total lack of self-awareness.” But the other female character, Hilda, is a pivotal figure. Paradoxically, she really shines when the lights go out. Be warned: The Thin Place is best trodden by the brave.

The play is out of the ordinary, and is a must see.

More information can be found here on The Thin Place:

Photo credit: Suzanne Cordeiro

Lead photo: Elise Ogden

Second photo: The entire cast from l to r: Fernando Rivera (Jerry), Katerina Papacostas (Hilda), Danielle Bondurant (Sylvia), Elise Ogden

Review written by Dr. M. Emanuele and Dr C. Cunningham

By Dr. Cliff Cunningham

Dr. Cliff Cunningham is a planetary scientist, the acknowledged expert on the 19th century study of asteroids. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He serves as Editor of the History & Cultural Astronomy book series published by Springer; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. Asteroid 4276 in space was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union based in the recommendation of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Cunningham has written or edited 15 books. His PhD is in the History of Astronomy, and he also holds a BA in Classical Studies.