Anywhere But Here

By Carmen Aguirre

Raps written with Shad Kabango

world premiere

February 4 – 15, 2020

Vancouver Playhouse

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Anywhere But Here is an external representation of the inner turmoil of exile. Using magic realism tropes, it follows a family on a journey back towards Chile from Canada. They drive in a mythological chrome convertible along the desert border between the US and Mexico, each with different emotions about the North they are leaving and the South they are approaching, reversing their refugee flight, refusing the state of exile. The father and his two young daughters encounter an increasingly fantastic range of characters. They are encircled by past, present and future, in a collective vision that takes them, and the audience, into the compelling experiences of people crossing and guarding the border. Threaded through the external journey is the internal search for home in an unstable world. With the arrival of the mother of the family, they confront the costs of exile and the true nature of home.

A celebration of Latinx theatre in Vancouver, this deeply relevant and imaginative piece will premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse in February, 2020. Exploring the state of exile and the true nature of home, Carmen Aguirre’s new play is both hilarious and deeply poignant, featuring a borderless cast of 10 artists of colour and a creative team led by Carmen, and an acclaimed Chicanx duo: director Juliette Carrillo and designer Christopher Acebo.

Music features heavily in the play, with rap pieces co-written by Rwandan-Canadian Hip-Hop Artist Shad Kabango, and compositions by Vancouver-based musician and percussionist Joelysa Pankanea. From 1970’s disco, to the batucada and the blues, the musicality of the piece carries the story across timelines and historic events past and to be. Woven throughout the piece is the story of two young daughters discovering the world in a 1970s convertible.

Dark and comic, Anywhere But Here is a psycho-social-spiritual-physical journey based on the relationship to land; it could only take place at the U.S./Mexico border during the world’s current refugee crisis. It is a play that celebrates working-class Latinx culture, spotlighting the invisible, undocumented brown workers that people the Americas. It honours the richness of Latinx culture and the strength of its resistance, neither of which are accidents


Playwrights Theatre Centre, rice & beans theatreNovember Theatre, Banff Playwrights Lab


City of Vancouver, Vancouver Civic Theatres, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts’ Artist-in-Residence program, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, The Province of British Columbia, The Hamber Foundation

Image: A shrine, made of objects found on migrant trails, honors the lives of those who have died in the desert, at the No More Deaths camp in Arivaca, Ariz. –Photo: Matt Nager/Redux