At Vancity Culture Lab at the Cultch until May 12
Don’t take advice from Granny. Specifically, don’t take advice from a four-foot- something, deceased Chilean grandmother when it comes to men and when it comes in the form of a vision.
Playwright/novelist/performer Carmen Aguirre, recent winner of CBC’s Canada Reads for her autobiographical novel Something Fierce: Memoirs of A Revolutionary Daughter, did listen to gran and she ended up on a sexy wild ride with a hunky Chicano Hollywood star who she refers to in Blue Box as Vision Man.
But there were other rides in Aguirre’s life that were much wilder and utterly terrifying. An anti-Pinochet revolutionary in Chile in her late teens and early 20s, Aguirre was watched, stalked and constantly threatened by Pinochet’s henchmen. Eventually, the situation got so bad she had to disappear and she ended up in Los Angeles where she met Vision Man. With his six-pack abs, he was, she thought, looking back on her granny’s prediction, The One. He had, she says saucily, “a really big—heart.” Ah. That.
Let’s just say upfront that Aguirre is the hottest, most luscious performer you can imagine. Wavy, raven hair frames sparkling dark eyes and a killer smile. Guys melt and when she throws in a couple of sinewy salsa moves the temperature in the room goes through the roof. She’s been described as “a hot tamale” but that doesn’t go far enough. Tamales aren’t, as far as I know, smart, funny and sexy and Aguirre is all of these.
Alone on stage, Aguirre weaves several stories together and, at times, we think we’re following this track only to discover she’s circled back on another story, another time. But throughout it all, Aguirre, under Brian Quirt’s direction, is mesmeric.
If you’re able to tear your eyes off her, that isn’t blood in your veins, it’s ice.
The deadly serious (revolutionary times) swings easily to such hilariously sexually explicit stuff (with Vision Man) that my own, long-gone grandmother—a Scottish Presbyterian governess—wouldn’t even know what Aguirre was talking about some of the time.
“Pussy” to my old grandma meant a Persian or a tabby. The titular “Box” is itself a euphemism for a female body part that my granny would deny even having.
Aguirre pokes fun at we “Nordic” dwellers with our sexual inhibitions and she translates for us several songs from Spanish that illustrate the difference between chilly Norte Americanos and steamy Latinos.
Produced by Nightswimming Theatre and Neworld Theatre, lit by Itai Erdal with sound design by Joelysa Pankanea, Blue Box is an intimate merging of the political and the personal (why do women—and especially Aguirre who seems to make a habit of it—fall for the wrong guys?)
And for closing lines, Blue Box takes the prize, hands down.