Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) Blue Box

Carmen Aguirre's Blue Box
It's Not About Recycling
by Jim Murchison

Last night was the coldest night of the year so far. There was a certain anticipation I had of what one might refer to as Latin heat. Anything remotely warm at that time would have been inviting but hopefully I was going to experience something that sizzled. When the play starts the first surprise for the audience is that the play they are seeing is not actually called Blue Box. That is merely a title more suitable for marketing purposes. I do not wish to destroy the play's first revelation, so you will have to see it to discover for yourself the actual title.

The sanitized for public consumption title is likely the only compromise that this production made. As Carmen Aguirre recounts her underground life in the resistance of Pinochet’s oppressive Chilean regime, she discusses how one might have to select comfortable clothes to be tortured in. She engages directly with the audience to the point where her body is leaning into the front row inches from the face of an audience member discussing the passionate fucking she received by someone she calls Vision Man. She pulls people from the audience to demonstrate surveillance techniques and invites them up to dance as well. 

Theatre should challenge and offend if it is for the right purpose.

It is difficult to guess what was involved in the direction of the piece, but suffice it to say that if you’re not sure what director Brian Quirt did, then he did his job well. He has allowed passion and intimacy to flow naturally so that the audience can experience the full impact of Carmen’s story.

The play itself is about love and lust, but within that we also hear about torture, fear, clairvoyance, witchcraft, liberation and struggle for democratic freedom and social equity. In short the play is about life, one particular, extraordinary life. 

Some members of the audience may be offended by the strong language and that’s good. Theatre should challenge and offend if it is for the right purpose.  Strung in with images of hummingbirds in your heart are cobwebs on your cunt. In addition to stories of weight loss by pure anxiety, there are stories of wet panties and hard cocks. All have a poetic weight to them. One person’s erotica is another’s pornography. That is the debate in society of what qualifies as art. My opinion is that art illuminates and challenges you to think and that blue box is honest art.

This play does what theatre should do. It engages the audience and it reeks of pure honesty. It tells a story that challenges us to think about love, lust, justice and humanity. 

runtime: approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes
Blue Box runs until February 3

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.