Valeria Correa: “Men have privileges, but at a very hard cost”

lava skin is the composition of the four members of this company: Pilar Gamboa (Pi), Elisa Carricajo (the), Laura Paredes (the), Valeria Correa (goes). Together they have created four works during 20 years in which they have demonstrated the potential to compose a group work, as a collective.

They began in the most independent theaters of Buenos Aires and with Petroleumhis latest montage, jumped onto Corrientes Avenue in the Argentine capital –the Broadway porteño— and have crossed the pond and carried it halfway around the world. Your last stop is the Autumn Festival of Madridwhere they put the brooch on their tour by Spain these November 11 and 12.


The transition to mainstream they live it “very well”, says Valeria. “It was very natural, we didn’t plan it, it happened that way. The work exploded. We did not want to make a success, but one more work. It was all like a gift, a power party start making money for the first time in 15 years of work”, he confesses. For this reason, when they are asked about their next work, they anticipate that it will be “a spectacular failure“. “We laugh with that to get rid of pressure,” they admit.

The truth is Petroleum it is a show in itself. The story seems simple: follow the doings of four extraction workers from the black gold. From there, characterized as men, they pierce these masculinities and open cracks in the system that make the public laugh and reflect. Correa talks to Global Chronicle to give more details.

–Question: ‘Petróleo’ began as one more piece in the company’s history and has been on the bill for four years and throughout much of the world. What is the secret?

–Answer: If we knew, it would be like having the recipe for Coca-Cola (laughs). For us it is more of the order of miracle. It’s one of those things that happen in the world of art and of the theater, there is something that works between the creators and the work and the public and in the middle will be the reason for everything.

–How did you find this ‘Petroleum’?

–It was a work that emerged in a very genuine way without wanting to have a specific result. It’s a hilarious comedy where people laugh all the time and when we made it we didn’t exactly want that either. We didn’t know if it would work, if they were going to laugh. We do this treatment at the gender level, we do men and it emerged in the middle of a wave of feminismin which a lot of questions about the genre were thought and things happened at the right time and place, it seems.

–Why this idea of ​​putting yourself in the shoes of these men?

–It emerged as something playful. We write, direct and act our own plays, we had done four plays before and we never played boys before. And we thought: “Why is this not enabled? Why can one play an alien or someone from the future and not a man? Then we began to think about what kind of man and oil extraction arrived, which is a job par excellence for men, where there are no women and in which it seems that an exacerbated masculinity is needed to sustain it. We place it in the Patagoniawhere they have to live together and do strength work and employment needs this exacerbated masculinity to hold on. Basically it’s a very structured montage, it’s Aristotelian, but there is compositional work that’s not at all innocent. We are not just composing a character. We are women performing the male gender and there a dialogue was opened with the theatrical and the real. We are all performing gender all the time and in this case it is as if the theater revealed that. We see these men perform masculinity and then deconstruct it.

'Oil' poster

‘Oil’ poster

–It is curious that process in which the theater, which builds fictions, in its work deconstructs them or exposes that fiction. Is that masculinity that we build almost like a theater within another that is the world?

–Exactly! And we have it naturalized. As usual, the theater comes to denaturalize some things so that one can see them and identify with them. It is a game of many planes of meaning. It is not only that, but this is the foundation stone.

–In fact, these men who drill the earth for oil on the construction site also destroy those masculinities and even the system. Is it a way to highlight that relationship between masculinity and capitalism?

–That relationship is absolute. When we decided that the characters were going to dedicate themselves to extracting oil, the image was already a pure metaphor: men with giant instruments drilling the earth to get things out of it. It was the metaphor of patriarchy in the capitalism. But she came alone! We got it out in one afternoon. Then we investigate the world of oil, of workers, we put together the characters from a super sensitive place, without parody. a little sorry for how men also suffer absolutely from patriarchy and machismo. Along the way, a lot of things appeared that changed us a lot because it is an issue that crosses us and, luckily, now it is an issue that has become aware.

–It also leaves that essentially feminist discourse around women and talks about those masculinities. Are constructions, masculinities as fragile or more so as femininities?

–It is just as fragile, the issue is what place of power do men have in society. Privileges are held by men; now, at a very high cost heavy, holding all this, does not let them enter a feminine dimension. doWhat would happen to the world if men were given the possibility of another type of sensitivity?

'Oil' moment

‘Oil’ moment

–In any case, all these questions or approaches are not part of the discourse in the work.

–No, there is no line drop. It’s something that happens to the characters. It’s not us lowering theory. We got to these thoughts by getting into those bodies. I can tell you all this by inhabiting this work. I could have read it in a book, because I read about it, but I came to the theory because I put the body into it. It is like a wisdom of sensitivity and empathy. There I no longer care about being a woman, trans, male, someone non-binary. We are all people putting the body to survive.

Q: Is this message more powerful in theater precisely because of the presence of the body?

–Yes. Because many can be identified, there is no direct criticism of men and, being theater, it is not necessary to lower the ideological line as when one goes to a political demonstration to denounce that a woman or a trans person has been killed. This is theater, so we don’t have to take care of a lot of things. Here we can laugh, think about the subject without so much responsibility. We are actresses, not politicians. We are freed to think about the subject without so much burden heavy like when we think about these urgent issues. Being able to laugh at something that hurts us is liberating.

–Is this comedy also a point in favor that gives power to the message and its theater?

–I think so. We do the works where the drama, the story, the characters… and what we show or what people can feel is the group. We are four women working together for 20 years and that has a power in itself that no other theatrical device has.. It’s a very nice thing, at least for us.

Valeria Correa: “Men have privileges, but at a very hard cost”