REVIEW: Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box

The Great Canadian Theatre Company is heating up a chilly Ottawa January with a show about love and revolution. Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box is their second show in a row that’s touring the country and originates from  Vancouver.

Should you see it?

Review for Carmen Aguirre's Blue BoxCarmen Aguirre has a pretty amazing story (two of them, in fact) and she’s a captivating storyteller heating up the stage of the Great Canadian Theatre Company with her often saucy tales of revolution and love.

Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box, which played to sold out crowds in the GCTC studio as part of Undercurrents in 2012 and has since been touring the country, expertly threads two narratives concerning two stories from the performer’s life.

The first, from earlier in Carmen’s life, is of her time as a revolutionary in Chile, working as part of an underground movement to topple the neoliberal government in place at the time. The second takes place later, when Carmen is an actress in Canada, and is of her pursuit of the completely unavailable “vision man.” In her own words Carmen says “the only thing they have in common is that they happened to the same person.” I’ll add that what binds them together and makes Blue Box such a strong and interesting show is the underlying theme of unconditional love.

While few of us can perhaps directly relate to having fought in an underground resistance, love is fairly universal. Many of us, even if we wouldn’t admit it, can relate to unconditionally loving another person.

As mentioned, Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box sold out Undercurrents in 2012, where I also reviewed it. That means I get to lean on a crutch for this one and paste this excerpt from that review:

Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box is basically just Carmen Aguirre up on stage telling you her story. Two things to note about that. One, she’s a solid, captivating performer who can easily draw you into her world. Two, she’s got quite a story to tell.

After she tells you the real name of her show, which is too naughty for marketing, the main core of what Aguirre talks about is her *ahem* love life, largely surrounding her repeated encounters with a TV star she calls only “Vision Man” – who’s kind of a douche. Aguirre repeatedly shifts out of this main story to jump into short snippets of her way-more-interesting-than-mine life as a member of the Chilean resistance. She practices the leave them wanting more approach each time she shifts between threads of her story to another time period right at the point you’re most eager to find out what happens next and this is the third way she’s able to easily enthrall you and draw you into her saucy sexy-time story for the full eighty-minute run-time of the show.

It all still applies this time, though there’s now definitely a feeling of even billing between both stories such that I wouldn’t call either of them main or secondary.

The house lights are kept on throughout Blue Box to allow Carmen to more directly address the audience and better bring you into her world. Certain moments even see members of the audience become part of the captivating and fascinating stories she tells.

What did you think? Do you have a Vision Man (or Woman) in your past (or present)? Was Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box too hot for you to handle? Join the discussion in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box runs at the Great Canadian Theatre company now through February 3rd. Check out our full preview, including photo and video for all the details.



Allan Mackey

About Allan Mackey

Allan Mackey is editor-in-chief of Production Ottawa, which, really, is too fancy a title. He also acts as show producer for Should You See It, making sure you get your answer in just about two minutes every time. He writes stuff and occasionally turns that stuff into movies. Keep being awesome!

What people are saying:

  1. I was really impressed by Carmen Aguierre’s performance. She enthralled the audience with her captivating style and intriguing story. Her use of audience participation was perfect as she increased the tension for the audience member involved and provided the rest of the audience with the opportunity to laugh along with her during some of the more raunchy parts of the tale of the vision man. Her juxtaposition between sex and chastity made her story both tragic and at the same time inspiring. No one left with a negative impression, including myself. The first one person show that I truly enjoyed.

    • Thanks for your comment, Adam. I’m glad you enjoyed the show. If I can make a one-person show suggestion, Little Orange Man opens at Undercurrents next week. I don’t know your full tastes but if you’re interested in a truly engaging, immersive theatrical experience unlike anything you’ve likely seen before, I think you should check it out. We’ve mentioned it a fair bit here on Production Ottawa, including our early Undercurrents preview ( … Or Nancy Kenny’s Roller Derby Saved My Soul if she ever brings it back to Ottawa.

  2. Kate Thompson says:

    I wasn’t a fan. I went last night and before I did, I wish I’d read the review by Kathleen Renne in “Culture” that I read this morning … she nailed exactly how I felt about the play. Too much changing direction in the story, too much use of obscenities that don’t add to the story nor do they seem to come naturally to Aguirre (and I’m not offended by swearing … it just didn’t seem to fit.) Aguirre is a gifted storyteller and I came expecting to hear of her experiences as a resistance fighter and to understand more of what happened in that land in those days, not to dance on the stage. (Sorry, spoiler alert.)

    • Thanks your your comment Kate. I’m sorry you weren’t a fan but I can see your points. Is the review you mentioned online anywhere? If you have a link, I’d be interested in taking a look.

Links to this article.

  1. [...] The Production Ottawa review of Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box Review: (Ottawa) Blue Box (Charlebois Post) Out of the Black Hole, Into The Blue Box (Visitorium) [...]

  2. [...] 3rd) Undercurrents: Theatre Below the Mainstream (early media launch preview) Batboy: the Musical Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box All My Sons We’re Alive; The Zombie [...]

What do you think?

We fully encourage discussion and want to know what you're thinking but always remember to keep it civil and don't make any personal attacks against the article author or another commenter.