Entertainment

Carmen Aguirre show in Calgary's Magnetic North fest

Canada Reads-winner Carmen Aguirre's one-woman show Blue Box is one of three works exploring issues of identity among new immigrants at this year's Magnetic North Theatre festival in Calgary.

Theatre festival highlights plays from across Canada

Carmen Aguirre's one-woman play Blue Box is part of Calgary's Magnetic North Theatre Festival. (CBC)

Canada Reads-winner Carmen Aguirre's one-woman show Blue Box, an autobiographical work about her life as a South American revolutionary, has earned a slot at this year's Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

It's one of three works that explore issues of identity among new immigrants in the lineup for the festival, set for Calgary in June.

Magnetic North, which travels each year to a different Canadian city, is an annual event that highlights theatre productions from across the country. Artistic director Brenda Leadlay and managing director Ann Connors announced the 2012 lineup on Tuesday.

In February, Aguirre won Canada Reads for her memoir Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, which tells the story of her teen years spent inside a revolutionary movement. Blue Box, which dramatizes her story, has previously been produced in Ottawa and Vancouver.

New playwright Mani Soleymanlou, an Iranian Montrealer who grew up in Paris, will also be featured at Magnetic North, which co-commissioned the English translation of his French language play ONE/UN. In the autobiographical story, he questions his own life in light of the more difficult circumstances young people face in Iran.

Another Iranian playwright, Nassim Soleimanpour, will offer White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, an original play that dissects the experience of his generation. Each night, an acclaimed Canadian actor — among them Daniel MacIvor, Rebecca Northan, Sheldon Elter and Denise Clarke —  is invited to the stage and handed a sealed envelope containing a script they've never seen before to perform.

Magnetic North will also features work from across Canada, including:

  • Oil & Water by Newfoundland troupe Artistic Fraud, about an African-American's curious experience with the residents of a small Newfoundland town.
  • Ignorance, a puppet documentary about the evolution of happiness, by Calgary's Old Trout Puppet Workshop.
  • Night by Toronto group Human Cargo, a play in Inuktitut and English about a Toronto anthropologist and a 16-year-old Inuk girl who meet during 24 hours of darkness in Pond Inlet, Nunavut.
  • Hamlet (Solo), a one-man version of Shakespeare's play, with actor Raoul Bhaneja portraying 17 characters.
  • Paper SERIES, a collection of short plays by Toronto's Cahoots Theatre Company.
  • A Nation Worth Ranting About, a special one-night performance by Rick Mercer, host of CBC's Rick Mercer Report.

Magnetic North is scheduled for June 13 to 23 in Calgary.