Country Argentina

Discipline Theater

Recomended for General Audience

Duration 90 minutes

Language Spanish

Dates January 18 and 19, 21.30h / January 20, 20.30h

Keywords Gender | Humor | Women | Platea 19

If, as Jacques Rancière believes, politics is about making what is invisible visible and listening to people with no voice, then 'Petróleo' is a political piece of contemporary theater

Página 12, Radar

On an oil field in Patagonia, four men share a trailer and extract oil from a well that’s only a few meters away and almost empty. Above ground, their free time is eaten away by their surroundings, the area’s obscure myths and its physical challenges. Underground, the earth has been broken apart to extract the last drop of oil; the little of it that’s left. In Petróleo, their fifth play, the acclaimed Argentine company Piel de Lava explores playing male characters, questioning the ability to create fiction collectively and as a way of delving into gender constructs and stereotypes. Written by women and with an all-female cast, this comedy is a reversal of Greek or Shakespearean theater, in which female roles are usually played by men. Four actresses play men used to hard physical work on an oil field, a place dominated by males and the ideal setting to explore the fiction that each gender represents.

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Direction

Piel de Lava

The Piel de Lava Company, formed in 2003, is made up of Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa and Laura Paredes, a team that has worked non-stop creating group pieces. They have put on four plays: Colores verdaderos (2003), Neblina (2005), Tren (2010) and Museo (2014), all based on their research of acting methods and collective theater and theatrical direction. Laura Fernández joined them to help write and co-direct their latest pieces, Tren, Museo and Petróleo. All their plays were published by Entropía in 2015.

Written and directed by the Piel de Lava Company and Laura Fernández | Cast Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa and Laura Paredes | Producer Mariana Mitre | Artistic consultant and physical trainer Andrés Molina | Music and sound designer Zypce | Lighting Matías Sendón | Costumes Gabriela A. Fernandez | Sets Rodrigo González Garillo

With the support of the Fondo Argentino de Desarrollo Cultural y Creativo del Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación.

Realizado con el apoyo del Fondo Argentino de Desarrollo Cultural y Creativo del Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación.

  • Piel de Lava is one of the heavyweights on the contemporary Argentine scene: with a history spanning 15 years, they have become one of Argentina’s “important names on screen and stage”, according to the Los Inrockuptibles magazine. Petróleo, in fact, was premiered as part of a comprehensive retrospective carried out in their honor in 2018 by the prestigious Sarmiento Theater in Buenos Aires. As well as performing under some of the best Argentine directors, the company’s members have premiered four plays as a group: Colores verdaderos (2003) Neblina (2009), Tren (2009) and Museo (2014).

  • Petróleo deals with important topics from an original perspective: constructing what is masculine and feminine, the world of employment and the fiction that each gender represents, all topics that are approached using an all-female cast playing the parts of men. The resonance and layers of different types of representation are in plain sight, particularly since the play deals with a group of men on an oilfield – a totally masculine environment with a complete absence of women – carrying out a job in which masculinity is necessary for survival.

  • Argentine critics have particularly commended the actresses’ performances. As the renowned writer Mercedes Halfon said, the company is made up of four of Argentina’s best actresses, who manage to portray “a masculinity created completely on stage”. In fact, their talent was recognized at the latest version of the Buenos Aires Film Festival (Bacifi) where, as a group, they won the award for Best Actress for the movie La flor by Mariano Llinás.

  • Petróleo was a resounding success in Buenos Aries: in the framework of the Piel de Lava retrospective put on at the Sarmiento Theater, people were keen to see a marathon of the company’s plays. This play in particular was incredibly well-received by a diverse audience, since the fact that it’s a comedy made it more accessible.
  • Women in theater. As the writer Mercedes Halfon recalls in a critique of Petróleo published in the Página 12 newspaper, women were not only forbidden from writing but also from acting in both Greek and Shakespearean theater, because they were considered as having practically the same standing as slaves. (…) This gradually changed and women have long been a crucial part of theater”, she explains.

  • Collective creation. This is the name given to plays created collectively by more than one person, with everyone responsible for writing the piece. It’s a multi-vocal creative process that emerged in the sixties and was methodologically developed as a way of breaking down the barriers dividing the concepts of director, playwright and script, as well as questioning theater companies’ vertical structures. Piel de Larva is a case in point, since its members create their plays collectively – in other words, the script is written and the piece directed and acted by all four members, although renowned playwright Laura Fernández also helped them write Petróleo.

«Excellent (…). An outstanding piece»

La Nación, Argentina

«'Petróleo' isn’t about women playing men, like the many times in the past men have played women. In this piece, identities are fused, amassed and taken beyond what is normal, to get to what is binary about gender identity»

Página 12, Radar

«A group of actress who are empowered and on fire!»

La Nación, Argentina

If, as Jacques Rancière believes, politics is about making what is invisible visible and listening to people with no voice, then 'Petróleo' is a political piece of contemporary theater

Página 12, Radar

«Excellent (…). An outstanding piece»

La Nación, Argentina

«'Petróleo' isn’t about women playing men, like the many times in the past men have played women. In this piece, identities are fused, amassed and taken beyond what is normal, to get to what is binary about gender identity»

Página 12, Radar

«A group of actress who are empowered and on fire!»

La Nación, Argentina

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