Seeing Ghosts

Have you ever heard of theatre ghosts? Ask Centaur staff and many will have stories to tell.  Lights going on and off, doors opening, or a gust of wind coming up from nowhere. Scared of the dark? Don’t be. There is always a light left on stage.

a light bulb on a bare stage
The “ghost light” that’s left onstage overnight for… who else but ghosts that inhabit the theatre. Photo Andrée Lanthier

In the spirit of Halloween, Centaur has dug up a script by Michaela Di Cesare, written for a special “ghost tour” offered as part of the 2018 Centaur Gala, where an usher led guests backstage and through the Centaur Heritage building’s dark underbelly. 

Excerpt of the Stockbroker Ghost, as performed by Paul Rainville at Centaur’s Gala in 2018.

by Michaela Di Cesare


Checks and balances. Living life on a ledg-er. That’s all I knew and that’s all this place was before. Tickers. Time. Opening and closing meant different things in this building, before. I sold stocks. And just so you know, the expression is wrong: it’s not a rat race because there’s no finish line. Well, there is one, but it’s not one you want to get to. Yep. I’m a cliché. The crash of ‘29 took me down with it. I told myself I couldn’t face my family, but really, I didn’t want to. I wasn’t who I wanted to be and that was unacceptable. So, I’ve been here ever since. And the cruel joke is this place becomes a theatre. A NOT FOR PROFIT theatre. The irony is not lost on me.

I haven’t been alone for 50 years. All sorts of characters coming in and out of here. They’re not so bad…The most important thing I learned is that stories don’t end. You might think you’re at the end, but…there’s always more. The play starts over the next night. Or someone who started as an usher here becomes an actor on stage years later. (That’s, uh, Quincy.)

On the year of our ghost tour, Michaela Di Cesare wrote Successions, and rumour has it she is now writing a sequel. She was Centaur’s playwright in residence in 2019/20, and often could be seen working in the Centaur gallery on a new script in the genre of a Spaghetti Western.

Photo for Panoram Italia Magazine by Vincenzo D’Alto 

What is Michaela up to while Centaur’s ghost light keeps the stage warm for her? She recently received a Digital Original grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to adapt her monologue SanimaXmas (originally performed as part of Centaur’s Urban Tales in 2017) into a short film titled The Carcass.

The film will premiere on Halloween on Michaela’s social media channels (@michamusing on Instagram and @michamusings on Facebook). It will be up for a limited time only so make sure to stay in this Halloween, and maybe have your dinner before watching The Carcass