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The Trigger

The Trigger
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Carmen Aguirre
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 64
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 0889225915
ISBN-13: 9780889225916
Cast Size: 5 women

About the Play:

The Trigger is a full-length drama by Carmen Aguirre. Based on her own experience as a rape victim, Carmen Aguirre's play The Trigger is a testament to the resilience and triumph of the human spirit and its ability to transcend even the most horrible and terrifying of circumstances.

The Trigger stages Carmen Aguirre's own experience of rape. Five female cast members slide between roles: one woman plays both the central character, Carmen, and her male rapist; the rest play Carmen's cousin and companion during the rape, the policemen who interrogate her, the nurse who cursorily cares for her, her father, her later lovers. The play includes an authorial preface that states, "When I was thirteen I was raped by the Paper Bag Rapist. I was with my younger cousin at the time, and neither one of us ever saw him – he used a paper bag to cover his own head or those of his victims. Not that we would have seen him anyway; a gun was held to the backs of our heads and if we turned around he'd kill us. He only had one bullet left, he said, so he'd have to chop up my cousin while I watched, then shoot me. By the time the attack was over and we were left lying in the mud, we were both different people.

I had wanted to write a play about this experience for years; propelled by my anger at how often rape was portrayed in a titillating, shocking, gratuitous way on screen or stage. Rapists were evil and the victims were only that: victims.

But, how would I stage it? How would I tell the story? Why would I tell this story? After a decade of chewing over these questions, the image of a young tree lying on its side came to me. A man was chopping an axe through its centre. A girl in a harness spun out of control above him. The sound of their breathing filled the space. The seed for The Trigger was planted.

The Trigger is for the 170 victims of the Paper Bag Rapist, their families, the communities affected by this predator, and every human being who has ever been sexually violated and lives with that experience in their core, which comes to the surface in intimate relationships, because, let's face it, when one is raped, there is physical intimacy with the attacker. The Trigger deals with the ripples of this kind of violation."

The Trigger premiered in 2005 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in Vancouver as part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Cast: 5 women

What people say:

"The Trigger is a knockout… intelligent, powerful, funny, horrific, theatrically stunning, and utterly free of victimology." — Jerry Wasserman

"The writing is at its most revealing when Aguirre shows us how the young Carmen's mind struggles to process adult-scale horror…. Going into an evening like this, you might expect sentimentalization of pain or oversimplification of politics… what [The Trigger] offers is so strange that it has the ring of truth, and it is never simplistic. Often, though, it is beautiful." — Colin Thomas, theatre critic, Georgia Straight

"…The Trigger, sets us back in time with a beautifully genuine and forthright tale of a young girl's adolescent years traumatised by violation. That said, this play is also both funny and entertaining, while at the same time a compelling social commentary on the experiences of many young women." — The Peak

About the Playwright:

Carmen Aguirre is a Chilean-Canadian author, actor, and playwright, a Core Artist at Vancouver's Electric Company Theatre, who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written over twenty-five plays. As an actor, she has over eighty film, television, and stage acting credits.

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