GHOSTS – 2016 Summerworks Review


Given the above image on the SummerWorks 2016 page, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from GHOSTS, a Dublin Fringe show that’s been brought to Toronto as part of an artistic exchange. GHOSTS is playing at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre in the Pia Bouman School, and hours later I can’t stop thinking about it.

The picture actually does give you a good idea of what you’ll see in this show: a forest, an unnerving monkey-suit, and lots of nudity. But all of this imagery has intention behind it. GHOSTS is a rather profound piece with powerful creative expression. It’s also surprisingly funny.

In GHOSTS, two men (Asaf Aharonson and Ruairí Donovan) explore their complex relationship and we see how its affected by political context. I entered to see them dancing together and when the show started, they began constructing a “forest” of precariously balanced wooden boards.

With the expertly designed lighting in the small dance studio, the set they created was quite beautiful. Sometimes the boards would fall to the ground with a massive bang. It seemed like the performers knew what they were doing, so I chose to assume this was safe.

Together, Asaf and Ruairí played in the forest, and would frequently pause to interact with the audience. At one point, a nude Asaf picked up a consenting audience member and carried him around the stage, whispering to him while Ruairí spoke to the rest of us. “That’s for them,” he told us; and the rest of us will never know what they spoke of.

Thus, this was definitely one of the stranger shows I’ve seen. The performance wasn’t all serious though, and many of the bizarre moments brought the audience to laughter.

GHOSTS struck me as a rather beautiful expression of love and liberation. Through audiotapes, creative movement, and interaction with the audience, we were given the Irish political context that sparked this production and ultimately it felt as though Asaf and Ruairí were engaging and involving us all in their exploration of love and sexuality.

It was a treat to see this bit of art brought over from Ireland so that we could see an exploration of queer performativity coming from the lens of their culture. If the description I’ve laid out doesn’t seem too intense for you, this show is something you should see.


Show times:

Friday August 5th. 9:30 PM – 10:30 PM

  • Sunday August 7th, 3:15 – 4:15 PM
  • Monday August 8th, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday August 10th, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday August 14th, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series ticket prices vary. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416-320-5779 and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 2-14 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted. (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.

Image provided by SummerWorks.