From Western Mail
Geller spooks actors with explosive ghost story
PSYCHIC Uri Geller has helped inspire a group of actors preparing for
a play about the paranormal.
Before actors of Irish play The Weir went on their current tour. Uri
Geller came along to rehearsals to give them an insight into the paranormal.
He even bent a spoon for them. Geller told them about experiences he
had as a young man and learned all about the actors' roles.
The Weir is set in a remote Irish pub and involves a cast of five characters
who tell each other ghost stories.
When Uri Geller met the cast, he predicted the play, which won the Best
New Play honor at the Olivier Awards in l998 would have been a successful
run on its forthcoming tour at Cardiff's .New theater.
Actor Fred Ridgeway, who plays odd-job man Jim in the play, described
the unusual meeting.
"The play involves a series of ghost stories and we thought it
would be a good idea if we got Uri in to give us a talk.
Uri was actually great and listened to the story I have to tell during
the performances with great interest. He may even have been spooked
by it, because it is quite a disturbing tale.
"We were told he was not a psychic as such, but that he sometimes
got overwhelming feelings and that he felt we would have a great tour.
He was right about that at least.
"Us actors are a superstitious bunch and he could relate to us.
Uri bent a spoon in front of about 60 people at our meeting because
he said he could not just do it on his own. He needed the power to come
from the collection of people.
"One of the actors still carries that spoon around in her hanbag
for good luck.
1 certainly knows if my routine is broken before a show 1 get worried
things will go wrong. I always turn up to the theatre a couple of hours
before a performance, like to be left alone an hour before the show
and have to eat just before I go on stage."
Geller got so much into the spirit of the production he told the cast
a ghost story of his own.
Mr. Ridgeway, who was a successful stockbroker before becoming an actor
seven years ago, said, "He told us after he had served in the Israeli
army during his national service, he brought a hand grenade home to
surprise his mother.
"When he got home he realised how crazy he had been, and decided
to get rid of the grenade.
"He went onto his roof. removed the pm and hurled it into a graveyard.
It blew and startled a few people but nobody was hurt.
"Later when he went to bed he heard a knocking at the door and
went down to check. But when he opened the door nobody was there.
"This happened a few times during the night and the knocking became
louder. Eventually he saw a man outside but again when he went out to
check there was nobody there.
"Uri told us he was convinced it had been a ghost from the graveyard
and told us it was after that his paranormal experiences began.
"That set the mood for the tour, but there have not really been
any spooky events.
'The most spooky thing Uri did was instantly spot that one of our cast
was sceptical about his abilities. Also just on my way out of the building
after our meeting I bumped into the actor who played my role before
"Apart from that we have all become immune from the spookiness."
The Weir made its debut in a 60-seater theatre in London but snow-balled
and ended up breaking box office records in the West End.
As well as the Olivier Award it has won Most Promising Newcomer at the
Evening Standard Awards, and Best New Play by the Critics Circle.