BWW Review: GHOSTS - Failing to Disappear
Dancers Ruairí Donovan and Asaf Aharonson flit as gentle lovers while we file into the Project Upstairs. Opposing a history of homosexual bodies branded as obscene, this sensitive performance sets out to test the censorship laws around the presence of an erect penis onstage.
Donovan reads out his correspondence with the Project Arts Centre on the matter, which refers him to the infamous case of The Rose Tattoo at the Pike Theatre in 1957, a production that was shut down and its director tried for representing a condom onstage. With these legal prohibitions still in place, they do little to intimidate; Aharonson has already stripped naked and started building the set.
In a forest of unsteady wooden posts, a tree threatens to fall on one lover but the other darts to catch it. Each produces a hand radio and dances to its crackling music, giving shape to their individual frequencies. When gathered inside a tent, we may suspect the erotic but instead we get a mock-up of theories about unnatural sexual acts.
Despite its exceptional risks, this is probably the most conventional of Donovan's work under the appellations of supernatural creatures; both WITCHES, a tribal return to Irish female archetypes, and ZOMBIES, a polemic about Capitalist apathy, were staged in the dead of night in alternative venues.
Yet, GHOSTS is also the best sustaining piece of the set, due in part to Donovan and Aharonson's endearing chemistry. Their soft trading of personal questions leaves them vulnerable not only to each other but legal prosecution, making for a sweet showing up of archaic law.