Carmen Aguirre - A PasionariaThursday, October 16, 2014
Tonight I went to a show (a very good show) that was intentionally misnamed. It was a monologue called Blue Box by Chilean-born, actress, writer, director and Studio 58 graduate, Carmen Aguirre. It was falsely misnamed as Aguirre told us, in the first few seconds, that no show in Vancouver could prosper and or be advertized if it were called Blue Cunt. Directing the proceedings was Brian Quirt. The set and lighting was by minimalist Itai Erdal. My Latino friend Carmen Alatorre made sure that Aguirre's outfit was tight where it counted.
In my experience in having taught nude photography classes in Vancouver for man years I know that there is only one other word, besides the c-word with the power, if not to insult, but to shock and that’s scrotum.
Blue Box is the true story of a woman's (it kind of begins when Aguirre was around 20) experience as a courier for a cell of Chileans in Argentina crossing with documents, etc over the tough border, the Andes, either at checkpoints or by low flying airplanes. The latter was a most dangerous endeavour. In those late 80s these cells were parts of an organization attempting to bring down the repressive regime of Augusto Pinochet.
Blue Box is the true story of a woman in search of something that combines true love and good sex. In her "Latino Vision Man" she finds that latter and is left hanging with a heart that beats as if a hummingbird were inside it.Aguirre survives that tragedy to soldier on not with hope, but with faith.
I happen to know Carmen Aguirre. Those of us who know her call her Carmencita to differentiate her from her mother Carmen. Carmencita is a rare specimen in Vancouver. She shows, outwardly a passion that you know, when you meet her, that is brimming from her inside.You might have to meet Carmen herself to explain the definitive difference between a hot babe and a mujer caliente.
To many an Anglo Saxon Canadian (or someone from that culture) to show passion and not a stiff upper lip is a travesty of what it is to be a Canadian. We are supposed to be centered and blasé.
I believe that the above paragraph might offend in its blanket inclusion of so many. But as a former Latin American who swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and now a proud bearer of a Canadian passport, I find Vancouver cold beyond the balmy winter weather it is supposed to be known for.
Aguirre with her almost perfect accent and diction in English is still from a culture where passion iis not kept or hidden.
As I watched Aguirre on stage, a most attractive Aguirre on stage, I thought of a woman, not as attractive, but with a name that in many ways Aguirre mimics with her actions.
A famous rallying cry for the ill fated Republicans in the Spanish Civil War was Dolores Ibárruri Gómez called La Pasionaria (Passion Flower). She was the head of the Spanish Communist Party for many years until she died in 1978.
Aguirre is probably not as left-leaning as La Pasionaria in her beliefs, but when you hear her speak about her inability to share a married life with a young man who is also her comrade of arms you could almost bet that at any moment she would have uttered this quote by La Passionaria:
It is better to be the widow of a hero than the wife of a coward.
Blue Box has many serious scary moments that are sugared by the fact that Aguirre not only has passion in spades but she is also extremely funny.
She has a way of looking at you straight in the face and saying things that would make almost any Vancouverite man (I cannot speak for women) blush in shock. I remember once when she brought a troupe of her Latin American actors to my studio for a photo session. I do not remember how it all began. It did end with Aguirre pointing at her actors and saying, “Size does matter.”
After the show, it seems it was her birthday today, Arts Club Theatre Company Bill Millerd presented her with a small cake with one lit candle. I did not dare (perhaps I have been in Vancouver too long) ask her if her box had cobwebs on it. According to Aguirre this is an affliction that affects many women in our parts. I have no doubt that if Aguirre were given a chance her Vision Man would come to the rescue.
Blue Box continues until November 1.