'The Basement - Ward12' was created in partnership with Secret Cinema for the November 2010 presentation of Milos Forman's ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
Ward 12 explored the background and history of author Ken Kesey’s participation in CIA MKULTRA Mind Control experiments conducted at Stanford University on the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and how this in turn may have been an influence on the book and film's themes of rebellion against society.
Ken Kesey’s reported voluntary participation in the MKULTRA program 1959, his subsequent experimentation with drugs and his work as a night orderly at an asylum provided his inspiration to write 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. These first steps led to his taking an active role in the sixties counter culture movement with the aim to instigate an alternative world view. Ken Kesey became one of the main proponents of sixties drug culture and the hippie movement.
Participants who entered Ward 12 at Secret Cinema were encouraged to take an active role in learning the truth of their own insanity. Were they part of a mythic MKULTRA test, or had they joined a family of patients who had fallen through the cracks of the system seeking escape via the basement beneath the Oregon State Hospital?
FoolishPeople’s 'The Basement' responded in real time to the expectations of the audience who were seeking to break the system. Unexpectedly, they found themselves in a world inhabited by archetypes and characters who may or may not be figments of the imagination. Or was it a psychoactive side effect and symptom caused by long term treatment with a cocktail of powerful antipsychotic medications?
released February 16, 2021
The Basement - Ward 12
Written by John Harrigan and Xanadu Xero
Directed by John Harrigan
Produced by Lucy Harrigan
‘MKUltra’ video art by P. Emerson Williams, written by John Harrigan
Archie – David Monard
Doctor Armstrong – P. Emerson Williams
Doctor Tollhaus – Tereza Kamenicka
Elijah – John Harrigan
Ellie – Laura Gallacher
Lucinda C – Lucy Harrigan
Mary – Josephine Arden
MK12 Orderlies – Michael Christofis, Eleanor Young & Alexa Mathews
Nurse Always – Xanadu Xero
Nurse Cestoni – Laura Wolfe
Nurse Phillips – Cathy Conneff
Tessa – Kirsty Hudson