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Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box an adventure

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Photo credit to Andrew AlexanderPhoto credit to Andrew Alexander

Post by Laura Freitag

In the middle of Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box she advises, “When one is on an adventure, one must see it through to the end.”  Aguirre has not simply lived her adventures; she compelled them into existence. Blue Box is an hour and a half long one-woman show performed by a revolutionary-witch-lover-prophet-comedienne, Carmen Aguirre.

The autobiographical play takes the form of interwoven tales. The several stories centre upon participating in the resistance movement against Pinochet in Chile and falling in love with a real Chicano Hollywood actor who has “a really big… heart.”

The stage is bare, the music is minimal and the lighting quietly punctuates the drama.  The production designer, Itai Erdal, and the sound designer/composer, Joelysa Pankanea, have done their job with tasteful subtlety. The music and sound just serve to remind you, this show is all Ms. Aguirre. 

Aguirre mocks the petite bourgeois, she chides our hibernating nether regions, and she welcomes us into her world. She shifts from comedy to tragedy, romance to smut. I would tell you more, but so much of the work’s strength is in it’s unraveling.

Despite her Chilean affinities, Aguirre is joining a long tradition of Canadian, female, solo performers telling their life story upon the stage. She does the tradition proud. The writing is lyrical and rhythmic. Her metaphors rarely overreach. Her jokes are tragic and brazen. All of these aspects culminate in a piece that is both poetic and authentic.

Finally, one cannot downplay the connection made between the performer and audience.  And it is here where Blue Box finds its intensity. Aguirre walks up to the audience, she submits herself, and she bares her stories as if they were her soul.  There is a selfishness and a bravery to her performance—it is just so human.

Aguirre has afforded us with an adventure. It would be unwise to pass it up.

Blue Box runs from January 15 – February 3, 2013 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, commissioned and developed by Nightswimming. 

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