The Refugee HotelFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889226500 | paperback / softback

$17.95 | 128 pages | Pub. Date: 2010
5.50 W × 8.50 H × 0.65 D inches
Drama | Backlist | Bisac: DRA004040
ISBN 13: 9780889226500 | Rights: WORLD

Two events gave birth to this play: the 1998 arrest of Augusto Pinochet by the spanish courts and the 1995 death of Aguirre’s uncle, who drank himself to death on Vancouver’s skid row, never living to make a victorious return to his country. It has taken decades of silence for Aguirre to understand and come to terms with her family’s experience as refugees and exiles: “The few times we spoke about it to other people, we were accused of being pathological liars and being crazy,” she says of those years. “We learned never to talk about what was happening in Chile. From the moment when I told some classmates very matter-of-factly in grade two that my stepfather and some of my family members had just come out of a concentration camp that was the national soccer stadium, I was Crazy Carmen.”

Laid bare in the ?ctionalized autobiographical details of The Refugee Hotel are the universal truths the victims and survivors of political oppression continue to experience everywhere: the terror of persecution, arrest and torture; the exhausted elation of escape; the trauma of learning to live again with the losses, betrayals and agonies of the past; the irrational guilt of the survivor—even the tragedy of surviving the nightmares of the past only to have them return to challenge any hope of a future.

Set in a run-down hotel in 1974, only months after the start of the infamous Pinochet regime, eight Chilean refugees struggle, at times haplessly, at times profoundly, to decide if ?eeing their homeland means they have abandoned their friends and responsibilities or not.

More than a dark comedy about a group of Chilean refugees who arrive in Vancouver after Pinochet’s coup, this play is Carmen Aguirre’s attempt to give voice to refugee communities from all corners of the globe.

By Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written twenty-one plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Trigger, The Refugee Hotel, and Blue Box. Her first non-fiction book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, was published in 2011 by Douglas & McIntyre in Canada and Granta/Portobello in the United Kingdom and is now available in Finland and Holland, in translation.

Read more about Carmen Aguirre


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news | 2011-11-29
Carmen Aguirre Tours Blue Box in 2012

…of the memoir Something Fierce (D&M) and The Refugee Hotel (Talonbooks), will be touring her one-woman show …


news | 2011-05-24
Carmen Aguirre on Studio 4 with Fanny Kiefer, Part 1

…1980’s Chile. Aguirre is also the author of The Refugee Hotel. …


news | 2010-09-23
Mapping the Rainy City on a Sunday

…have enough time to hear Carmen Aguirre read from The Refugee Hotel at 12:20pm at Word on the Street, to grab an …


news | 2010-09-22
Making the Refugee Hotel

…production of Carmen Aguirre‘s stage play, The Refugee Hotel. This and additional episodes are online at …


news | 2010-09-21
Carmen Aguirre Tells a Local Tale at Vancouver Word on the Street

…or co-written wrestle with the subject. Her play, The Refugee Hotel, which had its world premiere at Theatre Passe … took Aguirre 10 years to get a full production of The Refugee Hotel. She found that no one in Vancouver was … many tumultuous parts of the globe, the themes of The Refugee Hotel can be considered fundamentally local. Carmen … Vancouver Word on the Street Festival. Her play The Refugee Hotel is now available from Talonbooks. …


news | 2010-08-13
Dramas Illumine Dark Matter

…happily ever after, Jack is viciously attacked. The Refugee Hotel is a moving portrayal of a group of Chilean … Listen to Carmen Aguirre talking with the CBC . The Refugee Hotel previews on September 16 and runs from September … web site to see the Passe Muraille 2010 schedule. The Refugee Hotel will be available from Talonbooks this month and …